There is a unique but very simple way to help prevent the heel pain of plantar fasciitis, and it’s so cheap you won’t believe it.

Just kick off your shoes. And socks. This is what Patrick McKeon recommends. He’s a professor at Ithaca College’s School of Health Sciences and Human Performance.

This doesn’t mean throw out the arch supports. Keep using those, but in addition, go barefoot.

Think of the muscles in the feet as having the same kind of job as the muscles in your “core” (abdomen and lower back).

MeKeon says that there is a feedback cycle between larger muscles of the foot and leg and smaller muscles of the foot.

These two muscle groups send information to the brain. Shoes interfere with this signaling, a “missing link,” he says.

The result is that the larger muscles over-compensate and eventually become too overused to keep up with repairing themselves, leading to overuse injuries including plantar fasciitis.

To help prevent plantar fasciitis, which typically causes a burning type of heel pain, McKeon suggests Pilates, martial arts and yoga—and performed barefoot. yanalya

Use Common Sense

You don’t want to be playing basketball, volleyball or running on a treadmill barefoot.

“Going barefoot can be beneficial for some, if performed properly (on safe surfaces, done gradually so as to build up mileage over time, and proper stretching is performed before and after activity),” says Bruce Pinker, DPM, who specializes in sports medicine and surgery of the foot and ankle.

“It may help strengthen feet and prevent plantar fasciitis,” says Dr. Pinker.

Barefoot walking and running is a great activity that can strengthen feet, but should always be performed with caution so as to avoid injury.”

Just make sure you don’t stub your toes and that there’s no broken glass or other sharp objects on the floor.

Dr. Pinker is with Progressive Foot Care, which provides state-of-the-art, full diagnostic testing and treatment of the foot. He’s a professional foot and ankle health and wellness speaker who delivers many original seminars annually such as “Keep On Running.”
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 
Top image: Shutterstock/Vladimir Gjorgiev