Do Vitamins Help With Plantar Fasciitis?

Ball of a foot being touched by a doctor
Physical therapist working on a patient's foot (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Plantar fasciitis is a relatively common condition that can cause foot and heel pain. If not treated properly, it can become chronic. After being diagnosed, it is important to take care of your body to prevent future flare-ups. A healthy, well-balanced diet can provide your body with the nutrition it needs to heal and stay strong. However, when it comes to taking vitamins, it is best to check with your health care provider because some vitamins can be toxic if taken in high doses.

Plantar Fasciitis

On the bottom of your foot is a band of thick tissue called the plantar fascia. This piece of tissue connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed when this tissue becomes inflamed due to being overstretched or overused. Structural problems with your foot, improper training, poor footwear, a tight Achilles tendon and being overweight all increase the risk of developing this condition. It most commonly occurs in those aged 40 to 70, and it can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the affected foot.

Treatment

The first step in treatment is to calm your symptoms, which may require staying off your foot, using ice and taking anti-inflammatory medications to control the pain and swelling. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to stretch and strengthen the foot as well coach you on good training principals, so you do not strain the foot in the future. A therapist can also recommend taping methods, splints or even orthotics to correct any imbalances that may be contributing to your injury. An important part of preventing re-injury is learning what factors caused your condition and what steps can be taken to reduce stress on the foot.

Diet and Plantar Fasciitis

Since being overweight places pressure on your feet and can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis, losing any excess pounds is an important component of an overall treatment program. It also is essential to provide the body with the nutrition it needs so that your tissues can heal and your bones stay strong to support movement. A well-balanced diet that includes plenty of color and a variety of foods should help you meet your daily needs. It is especially important to get enough vitamin C as this vitamin helps to maintain healthy tissue and supports wound healing. Vitamins D and the mineral calcium are required for the bones to stay strong. If you do not believe that your diet is adequate, speak to your physician about the safety of taking vitamins and which ones you need.

Considerations

It is best to meet your vitamin needs through foods versus supplements, and using food versus pills has been shown to be more effective when it comes to preventing and managing disease, according to the Harvard Medical School. Certain vitamins when taken in high doses can build to toxic levels in the body, and supplements have the potential to interact with other herbal, over-the-counter and prescription medications you may be taking. If you have an underlying medical condition that prevents your body from absorbing vitamins properly or there is another reason you can not meet your needs through diet, then vitamin supplements may be necessary. They should always be taken under medical supervision.

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