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Preventing Plantar Fasciitis This Summer And How Physiotherapy Can Help!

As the warm weather arrives, many of us will start switching to more seasonally appropriate footwear and engaging in activities outdoors. It is important to remember that these changes can be accompanied by new stresses to your joints and muscles, so here are some tips to help prevent plantar fasciitis. 

What is plantar fasciitis?

Your plantar fascia is a tissue that connects the heel to the toes on the bottom of your foot. When this tissue becomes inflamed it is called plantar fasciitis and can cause pain in the bottom of the foot and most commonly the heel. 

How to help prevent plantar fasciitis as the summer arrives:

  1. Make sure the footwear you are wearing is comfortable and supportive for the task or activity you are completing. It is important to wear footwear that is recommended for the sport you are playing and avoid prolonged walking or standing in footwear that does not support the arches of the foot (ie. plastic flip flops) or feel comfortable while you are participating in your activity of choice. 

2.  Break in new footwear, and warm up before activities. Many people start new sports in the summer weather after being more sedentary in the winter time and it is important to warm up your body each time you exercise to avoid injury of any sort, and in this case repetitive strain to your foot muscles/joints. If you have purchased new footwear, break it in before prolonged high-intensity usage by wearing it for shorter time periods and lower-impact activities. 

3. Take breaks if you experience symptoms. As plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of the bottom of the foot, repetitive weight bearing and exercises that load the foot may be triggering for this pain. It is important to take rest breaks if you are experiencing symptoms and seek treatment to learn therapeutic exercises that can help stretch and strengthen the tissues that are affected if it does not resolve on its own. 

4. Stretch after activities or prolonged time on your feet. Like other soft tissues in the body, the plantar fascia and muscles in your feet can become tight and sore if overused or loaded for prolonged periods of time. It is helpful to stretch your knees, calves, ankles, and feet to help prevent plantar fasciitis. 

5. Seek treatment if needed. Physiotherapy treatment can be very effective in treating plantar fasciitis. Skilled therapists will perform an assessment and tailor a treatment plan to help with reaching your sport/activity-specific goals while aiming for the main goal of resolving your plantar fasciitis pain. This may involve a combination of an exercise program, manual therapy, shockwave therapy, and other pain-relieving treatment modalities. 

We hope that these tips help with your transition from cold to warm weather and the opportunities for new activities that the summertime brings! If you are experiencing symptoms you think may be related to plantar fasciitis, please do not hesitate to book a physiotherapy assessment or seek care from a qualified medical professional. Have a great summer!

Written by Emily Murphy, MScPT, BSc.Kin

Registered Physiotherapist


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