Most adults have suffered some type of foot pain. When your feet hurt, just about every activity is affected. Problems with the feet lead to additional concerns with knees, hips and back. I suffer from plantar fasciitis, which is the most common reason people meet with a podiatrist. There’s a thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia that connects the heel to the toes. When the tissue becomes inflamed, it feels as if the arch of the foot is tearing and is extremely painful. Excessively high arches, flat feet and unsupportive shoes are some of the causes of plantar fasciitis. I developed plantar fasciitis after too much running in really cheap shoes. Simply walking or standing was very painful. I eventually gave up exercising entirely. Since physical activity is essential to a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, I consulted with a personal trainer. The trainer was familiar with the condition and told me that there are ways to heal plantar fasciitis. He said that walking for exercise is actually a beneficial therapy. The personal trainer recommended that I start by treating my symptoms with ice and ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation. I tried to stay off my feet as much as possible, to reduce stress on the tissue, and began introducing targeted stretches. Before getting out of bed in the morning, I slowly flex my foot and toes and hold for a count of ten. I relax and repeat this stretch several times. I gently roll my ankles to maintain flexibility of the tissue and sometimes roll my foot back and forth over a tennis ball. I take the time to perform these exercises several times throughout the day. After two weeks, I was able to walk more comfortably. I purchased supportive, soft-soled shoes and gradually increased my pace and distance.

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