Can You Ski If You Have Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition triggered by inflammation of the plantar fascia, bands of tissue that connect your heel to your toes.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition in the heel that causes sore plantar fascia, a part of the feet made of a thick group of tissue across the bottom of the foot connecting the heel bone to the toe bones. It causes so much pain when taking the first step after getting out of bed, standing too long, or standing up after sitting for a while. The pain decreases as the patient moves around.

Can a plantar fasciitis sufferer still ski? First, here are essential things to know about this condition.

Causes and Risks

The plantar fascia tissue looks like a bowstring. It strengthens the foot’s arch and acts as a shock absorber when walking. Tiny tears can happen in the fascia when the tension or stress on the bowstring is too much. Repetitive stretching and tearing can cause chronic irritation and inflammation. However, some plantar fasciitis cases do not have any direct cause.

Factors increasing the risk of developing plantar fasciitis:

Age – this is common between 40 to 60 years old

Pregnancy – women can develop plantar fasciitis, especially during the late stage of pregnancy

Professions  – standing too many hours strain the plantar fascia

Sex – women are more at risk than men

Shoe – wearing shoes with poor arch support

Some forms of exercise – aerobics, ballet, long-distance running, and other activities that put stress on the hell

Types of feet – A high arch, flat feet, and uneven distribution of weight

Weight – Extra weight can put pressure on the feet with every step

Ignoring painful symptoms of plantar fasciitis could lead to chronic heel pain that can hinder daily activities. Simply changing the usual posture in walking to relieve discomfort can lead to future foot, knee, hip, or back problems. Therefore, it is essential to get proper treatment.

Common Symptoms

  • The most common symptoms include pain in the bottom of the foot right at the front or center of the heel bone. In the morning, the pain is more significant when taking the first step upon waking up, also called “first-step pain.”
  • Sudden pain when standing after sitting for a long time.
  • Pain after doing an exercise.

People suffering from plantar fasciitis may want to stay off their feet as much as possible; however, total inactivity is not good.

Most people with this condition usually experience stabbing pain in the heels, especially after waking up. It is common among fitness enthusiasts and runners making it usually challenging for patients to be on their feet.

However, there are many ways to continue working out without causing more stress on the plantar fasciitis condition.

How Plantar Fasciitis Begin

Plantar Fasciitis Begin

The plantar fascia is a tendon in the feet that connects the heel to the toes. The tissue helps keep the arch in the feet and acts as a  shock absorber while walking. However, too much pressure like continuous running, jumping, or excessive body weight can cause the plantar fascia to tear. When it happens, the ligament worsens or deteriorates, inevitably causing pain in the heel of the middle of the foot.

Usually, plantar fasciitis only affects one foot, although it may develop. The pain starts as a minor discomfort but may become excruciatingly painful.  

In many cases, plantar fasciitis only affects one foot, but it can develop on both feet. The soreness usually starts as a minor discomfort but may grow into severe pain that is dull, sharp, or burning. Generally, people feel symptoms more severely in the mornings after plantar fascia contracted the night before. While others may experience severe pain after a prolonged sitting or when climbing stairs.

Common Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

Self-care is enough to ease the pain from plantar fasciitis, including:

  • Athletic tape—taping feet can help stabilize it and put less stress on the plantar fascia, helping it heal quicker.
  • Icing—apply an ice pack or soak the feet in an ice bath for 15 to 20 minutes; this should help numb the pain and reduce swelling.
  • Night splints—sleeping with feet pointed down allows the plantar fascia to contract, leading to more damage when one starts walking. Night splints keep plantar fascia extended all night, reducing the opportunity of tearing them.
  • Orthotics— using insoles or arch supports can provide more cushion for the feet and lessen pain symptoms. Generic support can be obtained or visit a foot specialist for customized orthotics and shoes.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers—commonly accessible drugs such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, aspirin, and ibuprofen, are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and may lessen soreness and pain related to plantar fasciitis. Always follow the doctor’s instructions, even with OTC medicines.
  • Rest—if the cause of the plantar fasciitis is too much exercise or time on the feet, being inactive for some time should help heal the feet. Follow the doctor’s advice. However, too much rest can also be harmful to the condition.
  • Stretching— keeping the calves and Achilles tendons more robust and flexible should reduce the strain on the plantar fascia. 

If plantar fasciitis does not respond, here are more aggressive therapies to try:

  • Physical Therapy— a lot of patients respond positively to physical therapy.  The physical therapist helps the patients strengthen and stretch their Achilles tendon, plantar fascia, and lower leg muscles.
  • Steroid Injection—if the pain persists, the doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation. This treatment should be adequate for a month or so.
  • Surgery—the last resort requires a procedure to remove the plantar fascia.

Common Forms of Exercise with Plantar Fasciitis

Many plantar fasciitis sufferers are eager to find a form of exercise which allows them to remain fit without the risk of worsening their condition. Here are some common forms of exercise to choose from:

  • Elliptical—keeping the feet stationary on an elliptical allows the patient to avoid most of the pounding stress from running. Some plantar fasciitis patients with sensitive feet may require days off between sessions to prevent pain.
  • Rowing—whether rowing on a lake or river or a machine in the gym, rowing is a beautiful way to engage the entire body. Because of that, calories are burnt quickly while practically having no stress on the feet.
  • Stationary bikes—a typical cardio exercise can be replaced by riding a stationary bike with a hard-soled shoe. This way, one can enjoy an aerobic workout with minimal strain on the feet.
  • Strength training—although building muscle may not burn as many calories as a cardio workout, it can be helpful in many plantar fasciitis patients.  Bulking up can help your conditioning in the long run, limit strain on your feet and help strengthen critical muscles like your calves.
  • Swimming—is an excellent form of a full-body workout that will be easy on the feet. To further minimize the strain on the feet, use fins that help to propel.
  • Upper body ergometer—the best way to avoid straining the plantar fascia is not to use the lower body while exercising. Doing an upper body ergometer provides a vigorous workout for the arms and chest without involving the legs.
  • Yoga—this form of exercise is excellent for people suffering from plantar fasciitis because it does not include high-impact movements. Instead, it emphasizes stretching and strengthening. Plus, yoga is very effective at burning calories. If one yoga exercise aggravates the condition, substitute it with another.

An answer to the question above is yes, some people suffering from plantar fasciitis skiing claim that it can dramatically cure plantar fasciitis in just a week. However, there is no available study validating the claims. 

While inside the boot, the foot and ankle do not make too much movement, but the foot’s position will make the midfoot bear the weight of the entire body, and eventually, the arch will collapse and result in plantar facial pain. The arc must be supported with custom-made and over-the-counter orthoses to avoid it. Footbeds are an essential part of a ski boot and aid comfort.