Severe pain in your heel may be a sign of plantar fasciitis. If you're overweight, your chances of developing this condition are higher because of the increased stress on the plantar fascia in your feet.
If you think you may have plantar fasciitis, Dr. Jeffrey E. McAlister and the team at Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute provide you with a fast diagnosis and effective treatment.
Dr. McAlister is a foot and ankle specialist who offers lifestyle changes, including weight loss, to appease your symptoms.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Your plantar fascia is an extremely tough piece of tissue that runs from your heel bone to the front of your foot.
The plantar fascia is essential to your foot, as it supports your arch and allows you to walk. Your plantar fascia also absorbs any stress or shock on your foot.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs when this band of tissue becomes inflamed, causing intense pain in your heel. Chronic wear-and-tear is one of the main factors that plays a role in the development of plantar fasciitis.
The day-to-day stress on your plantar fascia leads to micro-tears, which, in turn, causes both inflammation and pain. You often have pain in your foot as well as your heel.
Pain related to plantar fasciitis often varies over time. It’s usually worse first thing in the morning or after extended sitting. However, a lot of activity on your feet can exacerbate your symptoms.
One of the other factors you may not think of that increases your risk of plantar fasciitis is your weight.
Your weight and your feet
Your weight significantly impacts many areas of your body and health, including your feet. It's no surprise that when you're overweight, the bones and tissues in your feet feel the impact, literally.
Obesity takes a significant toll on the joints in your lower body. When it comes to your feet, being overweight is linked to flattening the feet. Flat feet, in turn, put a strain on the plantar fascia, resulting in chronic plantar fasciitis.
Unfortunately, when you're overweight and have heel or foot pain, exercising and losing weight aren’t easy. It becomes a vicious cycle of trying to lose weight but increasing your pain when you do, which increases your risk of disability due to plantar fasciitis and other foot problems.
According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, foot pain related to obesity can start as early as childhood. Even kids who are overweight are experiencing foot issues related to obesity.
The bottom line is that excess weight causes undue strain on the bones, ligaments, and tissues in your feet. Over time, that weight leads to plantar fascia damage, which causes pain and discomfort in one or both of your feet.
Lifestyle tips for plantar fasciitis
Losing weight is one of the best ways to prevent further plantar fasciitis flare-ups.
Along with weight loss, you should invest in good shoes with proper arch support. Make sure someone fits you for athletic shoes and that you change them regularly to ensure your foot gets enough support.
If you're an avid runner or partake in high-impact physical activities, stretch your feet and calves regularly. Stretching is a great way to prevent injury to your plantar fascia when you're highly active.
You also want to take breaks from high-impact physical activities like running. Try other low-impact exercises like cycling or swimming to give your plantar fascia a break from constant stress.
If you're still struggling with discomfort or pain related to plantar fasciitis, Dr. McAlister has treatments that can help. First, he evaluates your symptoms to determine the best course of treatment for your feet. Then, depending on the severity of your condition, he recommends treatments like shockwave therapy, custom orthotics, or injections to ease your pain.
To get expert care for plantar fasciitis, don't hesitate to call our team at 602-761-7819 to schedule a consultation with Dr. McAlister, or book an appointment on the website.