Hiking & Plantar Fasciitis

Hiking & Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a medical condition that affects many athletes, including runners, walkers and hikers. If you are a hiker and suffer from plantar fasciitis, however, there are still ways to stay out on the trail.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

According to the Mayo Clinic, plantar fasciitis is an "inflammation of a thick band of tissue," which stretches across the bottom of the feet, and connects the toes to the heel bone. The condition causes stabbing heel pain, and often occurs in the morning during the first steps of the day, or after sitting for long periods of time.

Plantar Fasciitis and Hikers

Plantar fasciitis can be painful for hikers because they are on their feet for several hours at a time--or even all day long. Also, it is common for hikers to take long rest breaks to relax, or to enjoy a view.

How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis

One way to treat plantar fasciitis is to stop hiking for several months to allow the injury time to heal. Hikers can also buy footwear or orthotics that support the arch and fit snugly at the heel. If short-term solutions don't work, however, physical therapy is also an option.

Night Splints

Another device that can help with plantar fasciitis is a night splint. According to plantar-fasciitis.org, night splints support the foot and ankle and stretch the foot while you sleep.

Plantar Fasciitis on the Trail

On the trail, stretching can provide temporary relief of plantar fasciitis. So can treating the affected area with ice. If ice isn't available, a chemical ice pack, a wet scarf or a resealable plastic bag filled with cold stream water or snow will also work. Take ibuprofen to help relieve pain.

Article Written By Bill Sassani

Bill Sassani started writing in 2007, contributing to several online publications. He is also the author of "A Backpacker's Guide to Philmont." Sassani holds a B.A. in history from Penn State University and an M.A. in outdoor education from the University of Northern Colorado.

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