Dr. Ragland Featured by INSIDER on How to Ease Plantar Fasciitis Pain
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, two million Americans suffer from regular heel pain as a result of plantar fasciitis. And roughly 70% of PF sufferers label their pain as moderate to severe, reports a 2018 study in the Journal of Pain, writes Alex Frost for INSIDER.
"The good news is that if you have PF and do nothing (or, more realistically, just some light stretching), the condition typically resolves itself within a year," said Dr. Ragland.
One key to overcoming PF is to never let your bare foot hit the ground. In the six months I've been struggling with this condition, this one non-negotiable has been challenging to integrate into everyday life — but also essential. Ragland explained, "When you are walking barefoot, you have no arch support. Supporting the arch is another conservative form of maintaining the plantar fascia and preventing microtears." For me, just one barefoot step would set me back for days.
Targeted, topical anti-inflammatory creams, though, target the same receivers in a smaller, more condensed area (like the plantar fascia band itself) and are safe for long-term use. Ragland explains, the NSAID creams lower the actual inflammation. Plus, she calls menthol more "psychologically-therapeutic than medicinally."
The single most important item for people with plantar fasciitis to invest in is reliable footwear. "Many people [with PF] have flat feet or overpronate, and some [have] high arches as well. When you step down, the arch collapses, and when that collapses it pulls on that plantar fascia," Ragland explained, saying that adding supportive shoes and waiting it out is enough to fix the pain for some.
Look for shoes or inserts with supportive arches. As Ragland explained, the foot needs some help keeping the arch supported, instead of crashing down on the already-damaged plantar fascia more.