Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes.
Certain foods can worsen the inflammation and pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Being mindful of what you eat can help reduce symptoms. This article provides an overview of the foods to avoid if you have plantar fasciitis.
What Foods To Avoid With Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia provides support and stability as you walk or run. It also helps absorb shock and impact. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia becomes irritated and inflamed. This causes stabbing pain in the bottom of the heel, especially when taking the first steps in the morning.
While there are various treatments for plantar fasciitis, adjusting your diet can also help. Staying away from foods that increase inflammation is recommended. Here are some of the key foods to avoid:
1. Refined carbohydrates
Foods made with refined grains, like white bread, white rice, and white pasta, have had the nutritious bran and germ removed during processing. What’s left is a refined carbohydrate that can quickly spike blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar causes inflammation in the body, worsening plantar fasciitis pain. Limit refined carbs and choose whole grain foods instead, like 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa.
Minimizing intake of added sugars is also beneficial for reducing plantar fascia inflammation. Foods with added sugars include soda, candy, baked goods, ice cream, and sugary cereals. Read food labels carefully and limit items with sugar in the first few ingredients.
Avoid mixing sugary sauces or toppings with oatmeal and yogurt, which adds unnecessary sugar. Use fresh fruit or small amounts of maple syrup or honey to naturally sweeten dishes instead.
3. Fried & processed foods
Fried foods and processed meats are high in inflammatory advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs form when protein or fat combine with sugar and become damaged during cooking at high temperatures.
Consuming high amounts of fried food triggers inflammation. Skip the French fries, fried chicken, bacon, sausage, and other processed meats. Have grilled or baked options instead.
Alcohol consumption can worsen inflammation and pain symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Beer, wine, and liquor all appear to have pro-inflammatory effects on the body.
Alcohol also contributes empty calories and sugar. Limiting or avoiding alcohol altogether is recommended to help manage plantar fasciitis flare-ups.
5. Consuming More Than Reasonable Amount of Salt
Consuming too much salt can lead to water retention, swelling, and inflammation. Processed foods, frozen meals, fast foods, and restaurant dishes are often loaded with excess sodium.
Prepare more home-cooked meals so you can control how much salt goes into your food. Limit salty snacks like chips, pretzels, and crackers as well.
6. Dairy products
Some find that minimizing dairy products helps with plantar fasciitis symptoms. This may be due to the association between dairy and inflammation. Many people also have sensitivities to proteins found in cow’s milk.
Try eliminating dairy like milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for a couple weeks and monitor your symptoms. Use non-dairy alternatives or limit dairy to occasional servings.
7. Nightshade vegetables
Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers contain compounds called alkaloids. Alkaloids can aggravate inflammation in those sensitive to nightshades.
If you have a nightshade sensitivity, avoiding these vegetables may provide relief from plantar fasciitis discomfort.
Excess consumption of caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and energy drinks may worsen pain and inflammation.
Caffeine can also deplete the body of hydration, contributing to fascia tightness and heel discomfort. Have no more than 2-3 caffeinated drinks per day. Opt for decaf coffee and herbal tea for additional drinks.
What Are The Best Ways To Eat With Plantar Fasciitis?
Making dietary changes to avoid inflammation-triggering foods is key. Additionally, here are some helpful tips for eating to ease plantar fasciitis symptoms:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Proper hydration helps reduce fascia tightness.
- Consume more anti-inflammatory foods like leafy greens, berries, pineapple, salmon, nuts, seeds, turmeric, ginger, and tart cherry juice.
- Increase intake of collagen, found in bone broth and supplements, to improve fascia health.
- Take a daily omega-3 fish oil supplement to reduce inflammation.
- Eat light meals more frequently rather than a few heavy meals. This prevents blood sugar spikes.
- Maintain a healthy weight to avoid excess pressure on the plantar fascia.
- Prepare home-cooked meals so you can control ingredients and avoid excess salt.
Making adjustments to your diet can go a long way in managing plantar fasciitis. Pay attention to foods that seem to aggravate your symptoms.
Get In Touch With A Nutritionist
When dealing with a painful condition like plantar fasciitis, it is highly advisable to meet with a qualified nutritionist or dietitian to help develop an eating plan that can reduce inflammation and irritation.
A nutrition expert can thoroughly assess your current diet, identify any inflammatory triggers, and suggest appropriate modifications and substitutions tailored to your health status and needs.
They can also provide guidance on incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods and nutrients that may aid in managing plantar fasciitis flares.
A customized nutrition plan can make a significant difference in decreasing foot pain and discomfort. Working directly with a nutrition pro provides accountability as well as professional knowledge on how dietary changes can complement other treatments for plantar fasciitis.
Partnering with a nutritionist gives you access to expertise and support for making impactful diet modifications to improve this condition.
Lifestyle Adjustments Beyond Diet
While diet plays a key role, making certain lifestyle adjustments can also help in managing plantar fasciitis pain and inflammation. Regular stretching and foot exercises can gently strengthen the plantar fascia and improve flexibility.
Massage and trigger point therapy can target tightness and knots in the plantar fascia and calf muscles. Orthotics or shoe inserts can provide arch support and cushioning to minimize strain.
Resting the feet periodically and avoiding high impact activities can let the plantar fascia heal. Anti-inflammatory medications, ice packs, heating pads, and Epsom salt foot soaks may reduce swelling and discomfort.
Low-impact exercises like swimming, yoga, and biking are easier on the feet. Maintaining a healthy weight also lessens stress on the feet.
Quitting smoking facilitates circulation. A combination of these lifestyle modifications and dietary changes can provide comprehensive relief from plantar fasciitis flare-ups.
Braces Provide Support and Stability
Wearing a brace can be an effective complementary treatment for reducing plantar fasciitis symptoms along with dietary changes. A brace is designed to provide structural support and stability for the foot arch and plantar fascia ligament.
It helps stabilize the foot in proper alignment, taking tension off the inflamed plantar fascia and surrounding tissue. Braces also limit excessive stretching or strain on the plantar fascia when walking or standing. They offer compression to the foot which can decrease localized pain and swelling.
If you are looking for, feel relief from plantar fasciitis then get your hands on these high-quality braces from ProPlantar.
Plantar Fasciitis Brace – Perfect for Wearing Throughout the day
Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint – Night Splint
Many braces have additional cushioning or specialized gradients that improve shock absorption with each step. Consistently wearing a plantar fasciitis brace can relieve pressure on the foot arch, allowing the plantar fascia to rest and heal.
Braces provide daytime relief while other treatments like ice, massage, and stretching can be used at other times. Discuss brace options with your podiatrist or orthotist to find the right support for your individual needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best diet for plantar fasciitis?
The best diet focuses on anti-inflammatory foods while limiting pro-inflammatory foods. Emphasize fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats from fish and olive oil. Avoid processed foods, refined carbs, sugar, fried foods, alcohol, and excess salt.
Should you avoid eggs if you have plantar fasciitis?
Eggs in moderation are fine for most with plantar fasciitis. Though eggs contain some pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid, they also provide antioxidants. Stick to 1-2 eggs per day as part of a balanced diet. Avoid preparing eggs fried in oil, as this adds inflammatory advanced glycation end products.
Can losing weight help improve plantar fasciitis?
Yes, maintaining a healthy weight can significantly relieve pressure and tension on the plantar fascia, helping to reduce inflammation and discomfort. Even losing 5-10 lbs. can make a noticeable difference in plantar fasciitis symptoms.
What vitamins are good for plantar fasciitis?
Some key vitamins and supplements helpful for plantar fasciitis include vitamin D to regulate inflammation, magnesium to ease muscle tightness, omega-3s to reduce inflammation, collagen to improve fascia health, and turmeric or ginger supplements to decrease inflammation and pain.
Should you cut out dairy for plantar fasciitis?
Dairy may need to be reduced or avoided if it seems to worsen your plantar fasciitis symptoms. Many people have sensitivities to the proteins in dairy. Cutting out dairy for 2-3 weeks can determine if it provides relief. Consume only occasional servings if able to tolerate or use dairy alternatives.
Can switching to a gluten-free diet help with plantar fasciitis?
For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, a gluten-free diet can relieve inflammatory symptoms and foot pain. But for those without gluten issues, eliminating gluten specifically may not provide much added benefit for plantar fasciitis recovery. Focus instead on reducing inflammatory foods overall.
What causes plantar fasciitis to get worse?
Plantar fasciitis can worsen due to being overweight, eating foods that trigger your plantar fasciitis, having tight calf muscles, suddenly increasing activity levels, wearing shoes without proper support, standing or walking for long periods, and inadequate treatment. Managing these factors helps prevent the inflammation from becoming more severe.
Plantar fasciitis can impact your daily life in a very negative and painful way. While treatment options like stretching, orthotics, and anti-inflammatory medications are available, adjusting your diet can do wonders for you.