Feet First

Solutions for bunions, plantar fascia, and more.

Feet First
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Plantar Fasciitis

What it is: An inflammation of the plantar fascia (the fibrous band of tissue that starts at the heel and runs along the bottom of the foot) that causes sharp pain in the arch or heel.

Causes: Flattened arches; switching between high heels and flats.

How to deal:

  • Wear shoes with arch support. "Don't ever go barefoot, especially first thing in the morning [when pain tends to be worse]," says Stephen Sadler, a certified pedorthist and owner of InStep in Austin, Texas, who says nearly 85 percent of his patients suffer from plantar fasciitis.
  • Avoid putting excessive strain on your feet; if you exercise, increase training slowly.
  • Try this stretch: Sit with one leg straight out in front of you and the other bent to the side. Place a strap or a towel around the ball of the foot of the extended leg . Gently pull back on the ends until the foot begins to stretch.
  • Place your foot on a golf ball (or other small, hard ball) and roll it back and forth with light pressure on the sole.
  • Consult your podiatrist about custom orthotics or a special splint to stretch the calf muscles and fascia while you sleep.