Dr. Dollinger: Plantar Fasciitis

Nice weather, green golf courses, cool mornings, and sunny afternoons; we’re back on our feet, and for some, that can mean pain and discomfort. As an orthopedic surgeon for Arnot Health, I can tell you that one of the most common foot ailments is no more common in the summer as it is in winter.

Plantar Fasciitis is a localized inflammation of tissue on the bottom of the foot, and it’s painful. Many people feel the symptoms of this common problem in the morning, as they take their first few steps of the day. Even Joakim Noah, star basketball player for the Chicago Bulls, notedly battled plantar fasciitis throughout this past season and into the NBA playoffs, cutting his average playing time by several minutes per game.

The hardest thing for many of my patients to hear is, “there’s no quick fix.” It’s frustrating to heal plantar fasciitis because you can’t tell someone to walk on their hands for 4 to 6 weeks. You must really be aggressive with stretching and healing exercises given by your therapist. I read a recent blog post on the NY Times website that goes even more in depth.

It’s important to stay active and do the things you love this summer, so here are some tips on how to prevent or slow the progression of plantar fasciitis:

  • keep a bottle of water in the freezer and roll each foot over it after workouts
  • change or alternate your shoes often (especially avid runners and walkers)
  • maintain a stretching routine to go with other forms of exercise
  • try a pair of over-the-counter orthotics or insoles for extra arch support

And for those who have read about the benefits of barefoot or minimalist footwear, take heed. Researches have found no real evidence that those shoes (or no shoes at all) prevent injuries or improve efficiency. Today, we run on concrete and treadmills, so modern runners need to protect and take care of their feet.

If you’d like more information, or want to schedule an appointment, click here to find my contact information listed in the Arnot Health provider directory. And please feel free to email me directly or comment below with any thoughts and questions: bdollinger@aomc.org

Happy Running,
Dr. Beth Dollinger

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