Plantar fasciitis might be difficult to say—it’s pronounced PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis—but it’s pretty easy to know if you’ve got it.
One of the most common questions we get is: will losing weight get rid of plantar fasciitis?
The short answer is: weight loss will definitely help.
The long answer is that in this article, we’ve got everything you need to know about plantar fasciitis: what it is, how to treat it, and how weight loss can help. We’ve also rounded up a few exercises that won’t aggravate your sore feet.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis
The stabbing pain in your heels is caused by inflammation to the tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes (the plantar fascia). Normally, the pain goes away after you’ve been moving around throughout the day.
It is usually most noticeable first thing in the morning, and is a common injury for runners. If you wear footwear with inadequate arch support, you might experience it. People who are obese are also at risk of experiencing plantar fasciitis symptoms.
Plantar Fasciitis And Weight Loss
Plantar Fasciitis and Obesity
Carrying excess weight puts a strain on many parts of our body. But it is our feet that are carrying all that weight, which puts a strain on our heels and plantar fascia.
In 2007, one study found that we are 1.7 times more likely to suffer from chronic heel pain if we are have a Body Mass Index greater than 25. If your Body Mass Index is over 30, you are almost 3 times more likely to experience plantar fasciitis than if you are within a healthy BMI range.
Plantar Fasciitis and Weight Loss Benefits
It is absolutely possible to lose weight while suffering from plantar fasciitis. In a study conducted on plantar fasciitis sufferers who underwent gastric bypass surgery, it was shown to alleviate the symptoms completely.
As the amount of pressure on your heels and fascia is reduced, they are more easily able to recover.
As we work to lose weight with plantar fasciitis, it’s important to focus on keeping our feet comfortable. Good, supportive footwear is critical. Your doctor or healthcare professional can help you find the proper support, and it doesn’t need to cost a lot.
We’re going to cover a list of specific exercises later in the article, but it’s worth keeping in mind that no exercise plan can be successful for weight loss without a strong diet. Whether you choose a calorie-controlled eating plan, a low-carb eating plan, or any number of diets on the market—ensure that you stay hydrated, eat plenty of leafy greens, and limit your sugar and alcohol intake.
Best Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
The best treatment for plantar fasciitis comes down to your own body. Resting your feet, icing the sore areas, and stretching consistently can help.
Your doctor may also prescribe medications—such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium—to reduce pain and inflammation.
There are several types of physiotherapy which can help to stabilize the heel and teach you how to properly stretch your feet. In some cases, your physical therapist might recommend athletic taping to add support to your feet—they will show you how to do this.
Orthotics are another option, where arch supports are inserted into your shoes to help evenly distribute pressure across the sole of your foot.
Exercises to Try With Plantar Fasciitis
Losing weight is a long-term lifestyle change to benefit our body and mind. It’s important not to rush it, or to push ourselves to do too much, too soon. Pacing ourselves sets us up for long-term success, without risking further injuries along the way.
Here are some of the best exercises to lose weight with plantar fasciitis:
- Swimming—low impact exercises that support your body weight are excellent for easing pressure on your feet.
- Stationary bike
- Water aerobics
- Stationary rower
- Kayaking—a great option for getting outdoors.
- Battle ropes—available at most gyms, this is a relatively stationary exercise for your feet. Be sure to maintain your balance properly, and distribute your weight evenly.
- Strength machines—free weights allow too much room for error when you suffer from plantar fasciitis. The best options are weight machines, which help to tone and build lean muscle, but give structure to your technique.
Losing weight can be frustrating at the best of times. When you factor in the heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis, exercise may seem nearly impossible. But don’t be disheartened—with the proper exercises, good footwear, and a healthy diet, you can achieve your weight loss goals and heal plantar fasciitis symptoms at the same time.