Plantar Fasciitis. If you’ve never heard the term, this means that you probably haven’t experienced the heel pain which these words refer to in all it’s glory. Plantar Fasciitis is the medical term used to describe a particular type of pain which you might experience in your heel or the bottom of your foot. The term describes an intense pain on the heel which you might experience when you walk, but it’s an even worse pain when you’re just waking up. Having a pain in your feet is definitely something that could make you give up your love for the outdoors, because as you know hiking is an activity which requires a lot of walking.
It’s good to consult a doctor if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, as things might get worse if you try and push yourself through the pain or try to “walk it off”.
- Pain resembling getting stabbed by needles in the heel or the mid-foot area
- Pain in the heel and bottom of the foot early in the morning or whenever you wake up after sleep.
- A decrease in the pain on your heel as the day goes by
There are things which might “help” increase your chances of plantar fasciitis such as :
- Gaining a lot of weight to the point where you are considered overweight
- You do not stretch your feet before you go trekking (A really common problem)
- You have been increasing the distance or the pace of your hiking trips rapidly.
Before we get into the “treatment” part of this article, here are a few ways that you could prevent your feet from ever developing plantar fasciitis:
- You might have noticed that rapidly increasing the pace or the distance of your hiking trips could increase the chances of developing plantar fasciitis. Well in order to prevent it from ever occurring, steadily increasing either one of these two or even both of them could be the answer. Keep in mind that steadily increasing them means that you should not increase neither one with more than 10 to 15 percent on a weekly basis.
- The lack of stretching is also something we mentioned as a possible reason you feel pain in your heel. The way to prevent yourself of feeling such a pain is to simply do some stretching after a long hike, just before you put your more comfortable shoes, or put your feet to rest.
- Plantar fasciitis is actually a pain you feel because you have overworked your foot arches. There are plenty of hiking boots that offer a lot of arch support, but the truth is that they hurt you more than they help. Don’t get me wrong, the support is there, but this support lets your arches rest, which isn’t great in the long run (pun intended). Week feet and tight muscles are the main reason your feet might experience plantar fasciitis, so keep that in mind the next time you decide to use the foot support instead millions of years of evolution in the form of shock absorbing foot arches.
- Cushioning shoes will also help your feet to work less, which in return will make them weaker, leaving you prone to plantar fasciitis.
- The pain is most prominent about an hour after you wake up, so try to stretch your feet first thing after you wake up.
- This might sound silly, but walking barefoot and letting your feet do all the work and not rely on high-tech hiking boots is one of the best ways to keep your feet healthy. Walking barefoot on all types of terrain will help you build muscles where you need them and they’ll do all the work necessary to get you wherever you want to go, without relying on boots with ankle or arch support. It’s important to know that walking barefoot is highly recommended, but with your own body weight.
Boots with arch support will enable hikers to walk in a different manner then they would normally do. Stepping on your heel isn’t really normal, especially if you’re going downhill. As I mentioned the foot is a product of millions of years of evolution and it is capable of doing amazing things, but if you use it in a way which isn’t normal the system will malfunction.