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FINDING RELIEF: HOW BAREFOOT SHOES AND FOOT EXERCISES CAN ALLEVIATE PLANTAR FASCIITIS

Finding Relief: How Barefoot Shoes and Foot Exercises Can Alleviate Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common type of foot pain. You might have even experienced it without knowing its name!  This blog explains what plantar fasciitis is, how barefoot footwear can help with plantar fasciitis, and offers some exercises for alleviating plantar fasciitis. 

WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

Plantar fasciitis is when the tissues in your ‘plantar fascia’ - the ligament running along the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes - tear and become inflamed. Symptoms include heel pain and stiffness, making it difficult to run, walk, and even stand.

WHAT CAUSES PLANTAR FASCIITIS? 

Genetics, lifestyle, and footwear can all cause plantar fasciitis. Interestingly, plantar fasciitis only affects people who wear shoes. But while runners often think of it as a running injury, it’s more common among overweight or sedentary people, as well as those who spend many hours standing. It’s also more likely alongside existing foot issues, like high arches or flat footedness.

CAN BAREFOOT FOOTWEAR HELP TREAT PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

The short answer is yes. For many people, barefoot is probably the best footwear for plantar fasciitis.
 
Strengthening foot muscles is one effective way to prevent plantar fasciitis. But traditional footwear (including trainers) is padded, narrow, and rigid. This limits how much your feet can move and how hard they’re able to work, undermining your foot strength, agility, and flexibility. 

Barefoot footwear, on the other hand, is wide, thin, and flexible. This lets your feet move naturally, flex freely, and grow stronger. Research shows that wearing Vivos for six months can increase foot strength by a whopping 60%.* One study of 2,300 children in Manipal, India, compared regularly shod and regularly unshod school kids, and found that regularly unshod kids had wider feet, which is a sign of foot strength. Another study, by the University of Delaware and Harvard Medical School, found that increasing barefoot activity makes arches stronger and higher. 
 
By promoting proper foot mechanics and strengthening your foot muscles, barefoot shoes can help alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and prevent future flare-ups.

EXERCISES TO HELP TREAT PLANTAR FASCIITIS

Here are three foot exercises that can complement the use of barefoot shoes in treating plantar fasciitis.

  1. Toe spreading. Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the ground. Spread your toes as wide as possible and hold for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times to strengthen your toe muscles and improve toe alignment.
  2. Towel scrunches. Place a small towel on the floor and use your toes to scrunch it up towards you. Hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat. This exercise targets the muscles in your arch and helps improve your foot strength and flexibility.
  3. Calf stretch. Stand facing a wall with one foot in front of the other. Place your hands on the wall for support and bend your front knee while keeping your back leg straight. You should feel a stretch in the calf of your back leg. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Performing this stretch regularly can help alleviate tension in your calf muscles, which can contribute to plantar fasciitis.

Incorporating these foot exercises into your daily routine, along with wearing barefoot shoes, can help strengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles, improve flexibility and alignment, and reduce pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. 
 

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