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Q

As the weather has been getting colder the last few weeks, I am enjoying some exercise classes at the gym. Now, I am experiencing some pain in the arch of my right foot mostly when I get up from my desk chair or step out of bed in the morning. I have been taking anti-inflammatory medication and icing the area per a friend's advice but the symptoms cWhat should I do next to ease this pain?

 
A

Changes in terrain especially from soft ground of the outdoors to hard wood or tile floors can increase the tension in the broad-band of fibrous tissue that runs from your heel to the underside of the toes called the plantar fascia. It is used to stabilize the arch of the foot during standing and activity. Fatigue of this structure causes inflammation from excessive stress or chronic tugging usually at the fascia's attachment site at the heel. The stress can be caused by sudden increases in impact activities, tight lower leg muscles, poor foot mechanics, flat feet, or excessive pronation. Any of these can be coupled with improper or worn-out shoes which may not allow the plantar fascia to handle the load over time. Often times, low back and hip problems can change the way your body moves also causing excessive stress on your foot. It is best to have a professional such as a physical therapist evaluate your whole body movement to determine where the excessive foot stress is resulting from. The treatment may be as simple as additional shoe cushioning to a more involved stretching/strengthening plan to decrease the stress on the plantar fascia so you can get back to enjoying exercise pain-free.

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