If you spent your May long weekend outside walking, running or hiking don't be surprised if you wake up with a sore foot.
A Calgary doctor says spring is the season for plantar fasciitis.
"Things like walking too much, or increasing your distance suddenly," said Dr. Raj Bhardwaj.
The Calgary Eyeopener medical contributor says this is the time of year when the bothersome condition flares up.
"When the weather is nice in the morning people start walking to work, they're walking on hard concrete," said Bhardwaj.
A brief lesson in Latin:
"Plantar" means bottom of your foot (like plantar warts).
"Fascia" means band or bandage.
"Itis" means inflammation.
So, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the "plantar fascia," which is the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.
The tell-tale sign is a sharp pain near the back of the foot where the arch meets the heel bone, says Bhardwaj.
He says it's not plantar fasciitis if you feel numbness or tingling, or if you feel pain in your ankle or achilles.
- Doing too much of something suddenly.
- Not stretching your feet after exercising.
- Poor fitting shoes.
- Walking in bare feet.
Jumping or landing flat on your feet can also cause trauma to the plantar fascia, says Bhardwaj.
Bhardwaj tells his patients to back off on exercise for a while and stretch. Then stretch some more.
He says if you don't, your plantar faciitis will likely come back.
Bhardwaj says it's important to stretch in the morning, before you stand up.
He recommends keeping a golf ball at the end of your bed, and using it to roll the arch of your sore foot.
You can also use a frozen plastic water bottle during the day.
"Put that under your desk at work, pop your shoe off and roll it out on that. Then you can ice it and stretch it at the same time," says Bhardwaj.
Other options are anti-inflammatory medication and insoles — but not necessarily the fancy several-hundred-dollar orthotics, he says.
"There's not a lot of research that say that custom-made orthotics are a lot better than just some gel insoles for this."