Those New Year’s resolutions are in full swing, and the gyms are crowded with people who want to exercise more to lose weight. One of the major foot issues during a new exercise program is plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia is like a tendon on the bottom of the foot that goes from the heel all the way to the toe. Most of the pain is in the inside of the heel, and it can feel like a spike is digging into the foot. Most of the time, it happens when getting out of the bed in the morning, and as we limp for those couple of steps to the bathroom, it can get better. It usually hurts after getting up from rest or while working out. Many people also have a lot of pain when they walk barefoot on tile floors.

What’s happening is the plantar fascia is irritated at the insertion point into the heel, and what that spike feeling actually is is the stretching and micro-tearing of the plantar fascia.

What can we do to get rid of this pain? The first thing I recommend is easy: Stop walking barefoot around the house. We also need to stretch — not just the legs, but also our feet. An easy stretch is freezing a bottle of water and rolling it on the bottom of the foot. Try NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Advil or Aleve, and wear correct sneakers while working out. Stop high-impact cardio exercises like the treadmill, and try the bike or elliptical machines. If that doesn’t help, then it’s time to seek help from your podiatric physician.

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