The sun is up, the air is warm, and everyone is packing their bags and hitting Highway 17. Summer is in full swing! Sunny, backyard BBQs, and long days spent on the beach with not a care in the world. With all the joy and happiness that summer brings, it is also a time when our happy feet start feeling neglected. When you switch out those dress shoes for flip flops, the fresh air might feel like freedom on your toes however a great evil is coming full force…the big, bad Plantar Fasciitis.
For those of you who don’t know, plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia which is a thick fibrous band that runs along the bottom of your foot. Now what does plantar fasciitis and the summer have to do with one another? Well, those long walks along the sandy beach and spending countless hours in those unsupportive flip flops are the cause of the awful burning you may feel along the bottom of your feet. Though it may sound bad, don’t fret, for I have some simple solutions to keep your feet happy and pain free this summer:
- Change up your shoes. Most flip flops tend to not have any kind of support in them so wearing the same pair all summer is definitely going to put some stress on those feet. This is especially true for people with flat feet or high arches. So try changing up the shoes you wear and find some supportive sandals or a pair that are not too flexible especially in the mid-foot area.
- Stretching out your calves. Make a conscious effort to really stretch out those calf muscles, including using a foam roller on them. If you do find yourself suffering from plantar fascial pain, stretching out your calves in the morning before you get out of bed will help to reduce that pain in your feet with those first few steps out of bed.
- Rolling out the bottom of your foot. We recommend freezing a water bottle and rolling your foot over it first thing in the morning. The ice will act as a pain reliever as you are rolling your foot out, but this exercise can also be done with a lacrosse, tennis, or golf ball. There’s no right or wrong method to doing this. Move your foot over the object slowly, and where you find those crunchy spots spend a little extra time there.
- Working out those intrinsic foot muscles. Here are 3 very easy exercises to do that can help build those muscles at the bottom of your foot.
1. Towel Scrunch: put a small hand towel under your foot and scrunch it up with your toes.
2. Marble Pick-Up: gather some marbles, or any other small objects, in a pile and using only your toes, transfer the objects from the pile to a bowl or cup.
3. Toe Tap: keeping your heel on the ground and lift your toes into the air. Just moving your big toe, tap it to the ground 10 times remembering to keep the remaining 4 toes in the air. Then switch, again keeping your big toe in the air and tapping your other 4 toes to the ground 10 times.
- Ice, Ice, Ice. Who doesn’t love a little ice treatment after a long day of being on your feet? The problem with plantar fasciitis is that your fascia is inflamed and what better way to bring down that inflammation than with a 20 minute ice session. REMINDER: if you are using those prepackaged store-bought ice packs make sure to put something in between your foot and the ice pack. Don’t want to get a burn from the ice being too cold!
Plantar Fasciitis can be a pain to deal with, however it is not an end-all to your summer fun. Keep these helpful hints in mind if you start feeling an uncomfortable pain in the bottom of your foot. Some people are more predisposed to developing plantar fasciitis, such as people with very high arches or extremely flat footed individuals. For these individuals it would be a good idea to take preventative measures, really stretch out those calves and arches, and get some proper shoes. We are only given two feet, so why not treat them right and pamper them a little? Don’t let plantar fasciitis ruin your summer. Take control and enjoy the warm sunshine!
Have questions or interested in seeing a chiropractor? Give us a call at (408) 426-4936 at our Santa Clara office and we’ll be happy to help!