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Can I still exercise with plantar fasciitis? How to conquer the pain and get back to your workouts.

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation that occurs on the plantar facia tissues on the feet. These tissues always run from the heel to toe of the feet. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that will cause sharp pains whenever you exert too much pressure or weight on your feet. This pain will prevent you from doing your favorite activities such as running, hiking, CrossFit, Zumba, or even walking.

Plantar fasciitis recovery varies depending on the treatment route you take. This condition takes approximately two years to recover with conventional methods like wearing shoes or inserts for plantar fasciitis. However, with proper medical treatments, the healing period is cut by half or even less. The period is mostly between six months to a year.

Plantar fasciitis risk factors you should have in mind

The common risk factors of plantar fasciitis are age, exercise routine, obesity, occupation, and foot type or walking style. This condition commonly occurs amongst those aged 40 and 60. But, this does not mean younger people cannot suffer it too. The exercise routine you pick determines the amount of pressure you induce on your feet.

Individuals who suffer from obesity tend to be weightier. Meaning, they will put too much stress on their facia tissues. People who work in jobs that require them to stand for long periods, such as teachers, chefs, and retail workers, have increased pressure on their heels. Foot types like flat feet, high arches, and abnormal walking and running patterns may determine the amount of pressure you put on your feet.

Point to not on your treatment options

Most individuals always opt for non-surgical or conservative treatments. They are affordable, and some, like calf stretching, can be combined with your everyday routine. Having the best footwear wear and custom orthotic inserts can save you pain even when undergoing treatment. If non-surgical methods have failed to improve your condition for more than a year, you will need surgery. However, it is vital to keep in mind that surgery has serious side effects that you should be aware of before proceeding.

Plantar fasciitis treatment options

The treatment you opt for should aim at aligning your facia tissues to get rid of the pain. Treatments can either be surgical or non-surgical, depending on your budget and degree of pain.

Icing might be a good starting point during your treatment process. Here, you roll the ice over the painful spots on your feet for 20 minutes, three to four times a day. However, this is not a good option as it is only temporary.

Another great option is Rest. Here you can modify your activities from more strenuous ones to lightweight ones or decide to rest for a while. Such a move will keep your feet from pressure and strain, facilitating the Plantar fasciitis recovery process.

Over the years, there has been extensive research on the arch tapping technique, famously known as the "Low dye taping" technique. This technique involves offloading of the fascia tissues to prevent overpronation and reduce the symptoms of Plantar fasciitis.

Apart from these, you have a custom Orthotic insole and shoes for Plantar fasciitis. This footwear will provide you with enough arch support and cushioning to ensure you have a smooth healing process. Over-the-counter insoles are an inexpensive option that is readily available with or without prescription.

Non-surgical treatment options for Plantar fasciitis

The most conservative treatment options are calf stretching, using night splints, physiotherapy, and steroid injections. These options have a 90% success rate at a period of ten months of consistency.

Calf stretching

Cal stretching is one of the most effective and recommended treatment options for Plantar fasciitis. It involves several techniques from the Downward Dog to the Standing Bent-Over Calf Stretch with the most popular one being the Lunging Calf Stretch.

The stretching should always begin in the morning with three more distributed throughout the day. It's worth noting, though, that plantar fascia-specific stretching is 100 times more effective than calf stretching.

Night Splint

According to studies, most people's feet bend downwards and away from their legs while sleeping. This downward bending of the feet, Plantar flexion, causes the Plantar fascia tissues to relax. A condition that causes heel pains early in the morning. When sleeping, there is a need to bend your feet backward, or dorsiflexion, to avoid this.

Night Splints help in achieving dorsiflexion. They are soft heel pads with great support. They are meant to stretch the fascia tissues while you sleep. One drawback is that it is hard to sleep with Night Splints on your feet. Night splints are available in most online shops including Amazon. However, you can opt for the Strassburg Sock as a more practical option. Strassburg Sock is just a sock with a strap running from the toe of the feet to the kneecap.

Steroid injections

In most cases, Plantar fasciitis may go away just by stretching alone. However, in severe cases, calf stretching may have futile results. At this point, you may want to consult your doctor for an anti-inflammatory steroid injection prescription. An example of this steroid is Cortisone, which is injected into the fascia tissues to alleviate pain and inflammation. The doctor needs to monitor the injections to prevent tissue damages that may increase the pain or even cause flat feet.


Here you have two options, physical therapy, and shock wave therapy. With physical therapy, a physiotherapist will prescribe an exercise routine to lower pain and inflammations on your feet. This routine might entail aspects such as massages, meditation, and calf stretching.

Shock wave therapy involves delivering a series of shockwaves to the damaged areas of the feet. These shockwaves are to trigger the healing process by subjecting the plantar fascia tissues to microscopic traumas.

Surgical treatments for plantar fasciitis

Non-surgical treatments are effective enough to heal plantar fasciitis. However, in severe cases, you would have to opt for surgery. The most popular surgical treatment is gastrocnemius release. This procedure involves the lengthening of the gastroc tendons that connects the Achillies tendons to the facia tissues. Gastrocnemius release has little to no complication, but you need to be wary of nerve damages.

Going back to your fitness routine after plantar fasciitis treatment

Returning to your workouts will be determined by the severity of your condition. Also, by the success of your treatment and how well you stick to it. Returning to normalcy is a gradual process as there is a need to give your facia tissue and arches room to adopt. Start with lightweight exercises and increase their aggressiveness while monitoring the pain.

Also, you should not halt your treatment just because your main has gone away. Continue stretching your calf and plantar fascia even into your return to exercising. Never forget to wear plantar fasciitis shoes and insoles.