Summertime is wonderful for a whole host of reasons, from backyard barbecues to lazy afternoons spent watching baseball. However, it can also increase your risk of developing symptoms related to plantar fasciitis.
Why your risk increases
When the sun is shining and the weather is hot, the last thing you want to do is wear bulky shoes. Instead, you toss on a pair of flip flops, and enjoy the cool breeze.
Unfortunately, if you aren’t careful, this could cause or exacerbate a range of foot problems, including plantar fasciitis. Sandals tend to have inadequate heel and arch support, which can trigger symptoms related to plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot, pulling on your heel as you walk, and it needs to be properly cushioned to work at its best. The less of a barrier there is between your feet and the ground, the more impact you will feel in your feet and heels. Flimsy footwear can cause it to stretch, tear or become inflamed.
In addition, you are probably more likely to be more active during the summer. The warm weather makes parks, beaches and other outdoor activities an attractive proposition. The danger here is that many of these fun outings take place on surfaces that aren’t ideal for an injured food. Hard grass, uneven rocks or shifting sand can all create stride problems that worsen symptoms related to plantar fasciitis. Playing outdoor sports, such as baseball, basketball and football, can also leads to repeated stress on the foot and create or worsen symptoms related to plantar fasciitis.
What you can do to alleviate that risk
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of plantar fasciitis this summer, along with the pain associated with it. One of the most important steps you can follow is to buy proper shoes. Simply going to the store and picking out the first pair of flip flops you see is not adequate protection: Spend the time to find a pair of sandals that actually has the arch support you’ll need to get through the summer.
You should also be careful about the activities that you do. If you are going to be running, jumping or playing sports, be sure to adequately stretch your feet, ankles and legs beforehand. As Dr. Robert Debiec, a podiatrist with Ohio’s Ankle & Foot Care Centers, told his local NBC affiliate, it’s important to pay attention to the signs that your body is giving you.
“If it starts to interrupt your activity you know there is something wrong. When it starts to interrupt your activity and you are starting to limp and you are compensating and you are changing the way you walk to protect that injured part get it checked out,” said Dr. Debiec.
He noted that much of the pain from plantar fasciitis can be alleviated by wearing the right shoes and monitoring activity dutifully. In most of his younger patients, the spike in plantar fasciitis symptoms over the summer is due to over-activity. For his older ones, improper footwear is the most likely culprit.
One measure that can help footwear-related symptoms of plantar fasciitis is investing in a medical sleeve, such as Nice Stretch. These devices help stabilize the foot and ankle, and can be part of reducing pain and other symptoms related to the condition. If you find yourself dealing with discomfort due to plantar fasciitis this summer, it could be the right choice for you.