Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain, specifically in runners or other individuals who must be on their feet for long periods of time. Once plantar fasciitis sets in, it is relatively easy to be rid of. With the proper exercises and arch support, specifically a change of shoes, plantar fasciitis can disappear just as suddenly as it set in.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the band of tissue connecting the heel to the toe and running along the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed. Normally, the band of tissue, or the plantar fascia, acts as a shock absorber for your foot with every step you take. Once the tissue becomes overstressed or is under undue tension, the tissue will tear and swell. Obesity, flat-footedness, certain types of exercise such as running or dancing, long periods or standing or walking time, and improper shoes can cause stress or tension.
A telltale sign of plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain in the arch or heel of your foot. It generally occurs in the morning with your first steps of the day. Once your foot limbers up, the pain generally subsides. But without treatment or attention, the pain will only grow worse and could cause other foot, knee, hip or back problems, eventually changing the way you walk.
Your shoes play an important role when it comes to plantar fasciitis. Open-toed shoes such as flip-flops or sandals, high heels, or any other shoe without arch support can contribute to much of the tension on your feet, especially if worn at all times. To reduce the risk for plantar fasciitis, wear shoes with proper arch support. Although they typically tend to be more expensive, they will last longer and be more forgiving on your feet. The best and most comfortable shoes for plantar fasciitis are simple running shoes, although these tend to lose their support after some time and will need to be replaced.
If you must wear shoes that are flat or you simply don't like the look of arched shoes, you can buy an over-the-counter arch insert from any grocery store or pharmacy. They will generally help relieve the tension and keep you in style.