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For our One Good Thing post this month, we’d like to introduce you to some stretches to prevent plantar fasciitis and some techniques to treat discomfort should you experience any after getting outside and on your feet. 

Preventing & Treating Plantar Fasciitis

With summer upon us, we’re heading outside to explore the beauty of Colorado.  There is so much to see and do!  Heading into the high country means cooler weather and gorgeous views.  It can also mean injuries, if we aren’t prepared with well-fitting footwear.  Walking, running and hiking in Colorado often means being on uneven ground with the potential for injuries, including plantar fasciitis. What is plantar fasciitis? It’s one of the most common causes of heel pain and can affect sedentary and athletic people.  It results from chronic overload either from lifestyle or exercise.  Treatment can be difficult whether it’s from chronic degeneration or acute inflammation. 

First, let’s talk injury prevention.  Wearing good quality, supportive shoes is key, especially early in the season.  Start slowly and build up – your first outing probably shouldn’t be a multiday hike with a heavy pack!  

Strengthening the arch of your foot and stretching your calves are critical for preventing plantar fasciitis.  Here’s a link to some simple strengthening and stretching strategies from Mayo Clinic. You may want to start these exercises even before you start hiking. 

If you do start having discomfort, self-treatment options include ice, rest with activity modification, stretching, massage and ice, along with an anti-inflammatory medication, if warranted. 

Cold rolling can be an effective treatment.  The simple technique of rolling your foot over an icy water bottle can bring much needed relief.  Check out these videos from Dr. Emily Splichal to understand and apply the technique. 

Finally, if you aren’t getting better with these self-care options, see your primary care provider.  You may need additional treatment like physical therapy, specialty orthotics, injections, or even surgery.  Acupuncture and massage therapy can also be very effective. 

For those who want to know more: