I have plantar fasciitis so it hurts when I stand on my feet and especially going up and down stairs or walking. I'm in a catch-22. The doctor says I need to lose weight in order to help take care of the foot pain. But the foot hurts when I try to walk or exercise. What can I do?
This is a complex challenge for many people with plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition affecting the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia (also known as the plantar aponeurosis) is a thick band of connective tissue. It runs from the front of the heel bone (calcaneus) to the ball of the foot. This dense strip of tissue helps support the arch of the foot by acting something like the string on an archer's bow. It is the source of the painful condition plantar fasciitis. When we stand or walk, we put tremendous pressure on this small strip of connective tissue. It wasn't meant to withstand hundreds of pounds of force and pressure day-after-day. And weight loss that depends on exercise can clearly become a challenge. The goal, of course, is to find a way to exercise with minimal (and hopefully no) pain. There are two possible solutions to try. The first is pool exercise where your body weight is supported by the buoyancy of the water. You don't have to be able to swim to participate in these classes. They are usually held in the shallow end of a pool. It may be possible to attempt other types of exercise such as sit-and-be-fit or a stationary bike. If the pain is just too severe to attempt any of these programs, then your focus and attention must remain on gaining some measure of pain control. That may mean a combination of therapies such as arch supports, ultraound and stretching, antiinflammatory medications, or night splinting. Alternative approaches such as acupuncture, massage, Reiki, or BodyTalk might help as well.Some people gain relief from pain with a steroid (cortisone) injection. When nothing helps at all, then surgery to remove the offending piece of soft tissue may be suggested.