Prevent foot pain with supportive footwear
Piling on the pounds over Christmas can put pressure on your feet, but investing in supportive footwear will help alleviate the pain.
Weight gain is a common problem over the Christmas holidays. With mountains of cheese and chocolate to get through, and endless glasses of champagne and mulled wine (not to mention the traditional turkey dinner), it’s little wonder that many of us overindulge and find our clothes fitting a little tighter by the time January arrives.
We all know that being overweight comes with its own set of problems, increasing the risk of serious health conditions such as stroke, type 2 diabetes and even cancer – but did you know that those extra holiday pounds could also have an impact on your feet?
Carrying extra weight can put additional strain on your heel arches, this in turn can irritate and stretch your plantar fascia – the web-like ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot – leading to foot pain.
In fact, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common winter foot complaints. Your plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot, acting as a kind of shock absorber and helping you to walk comfortably. This ligament experiences a lot of wear and tear through normal daily activity, and putting too much pressure on your feet can cause damage or tearing, causing the plantar fascia to become inflamed. This inflammation causes stiffness and pain in the heel of the foot. This pain can be dull or sharp, and is often worse when standing after lying or sitting for long periods.
And while sudden weight gain can be a key cause of plantar fasciitis, there are additional factors that make it a particularly prevalent condition during the winter months.
Additional risk factors
The colder weather is a key culprit when it comes to exacerbating foot problems such as arch pain and plantar fasciitis. Exposure to lower temperatures can shrink the joint tissues, causing them to pull on the nerve endings and resulting in more pain. But it’s not just the winter that’s to blame; months of wearing unsupportive flip flops during the summer months can also take its toll.
Add these factors to the holiday overindulgence, and you create the perfect foot-pain storm.
Protecting your feet
Luckily there are steps you can take to protect your feet, and chief among these is supporting your arches with orthotic insoles for plantar fasciitis. As with most things, prevention is always better than cure, and plantar fasciitis insoles offer some much-needed support and cushioning to your foot arches, helping to alleviate pressure and prevent heel pain. For best results, steer clear of standard one-size-fits-all insoles and instead opt for insoles that have customisable and metatarsal supports that are designed to suit your specific requirements – and always go for the firmest possible arch piece that feels comfortable.
In addition to wearing supportive footwear, performing daily leg and foot stretches can also keep your feet in tip top condition and alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. If you are experiencing heel pain, experts recommend following the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) principles – staying off your feet and elevating them as much as possible, using a compression sleeve or bandage, and rolling your feet on a cold water bottle will all help you to feel more comfortable.
By treating your feet with the care and respect they deserve, you can enjoy a pain-free winter – whether you treat yourself to that extra mince pie or not!