We all know that exercise is good for us. The benefits of keeping fit and active are undeniable. There has been a big push in recent years to get people up from their couches to start moving, as the prevalence of obesity has become more obvious and very worrying for health care providers. We exercise for many reasons though, not just to control our weight. We want to feel good, more energetic and we want to live longer and be as healthy as possible in our later years. Everyone can benefit from taking more exercise.
- 1 The benefits of exercise
- 1.1 The issue of injuries
- 1.2 Check with your doctor before starting an exercise programme.
- 1.3 Warm up before you start exercising.
- 1.4 Cool down properly.
- 1.5 Avoid Overtraining.
- 1.6 Avoid exercising when you are tired or in pain.
- 1.7 Stay hydrated and wear the right clothing for your activity.
- 1.8 The importance of the right footwear
- 1.9 The problem of plantar fasciitis
- 1.10 A heel pad
- 1.11 Stretching:
- 1.12 Ice:
- 1.13 Painkillers:
- 1.14 A night splint:
- 1.15 Ultrasound treatment:
- 1.16 Steroid injections:
- 1.17 Surgery:
- 1.18 What is a Plantar Fasciitis Sock?
- 1.19 The best plantar fasciitis socks on Amazon
- 1.20 Fit Nation socks, £14.99 for 2 pairs
- 1.21 Physix Gear Sport Plantar Fasciitis Socks with Arch Support
- 1.22 Nuolox Plantar Fasciitis Athletic Socks
- 1.23 Copper Shield Plantar Fasciitis Copper Lined Ankle Socks
- 1.24 Pro11 Wellbeing Plantar Fasciitis night splint sock
The benefits of exercise
Exercise is a great weight management tool. It burns off excess calories and helps us build lean muscle tissue which fires up our metabolism. But when you think of exercise, don’t just think of going to the gym. Daily activity such as taking the stairs, walking to the shops or doing the gardening is valuable too.
Regular activity is a known factor in helping to prevent heart disease, one of the biggest killers along with cancer. Exercise lowers blood pressure and reduces the amount of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body so it actively helps to decrease the risk of a cardiovascular event. Exercise has been shown extensively in studies to prevent and manage some significant health conditions such as stroke, diabetes, cancer, depression and arthritis.
Taking some exercise can be an amazing mood booster. Whether you are stressed out or need a boost, a brisk walk or similar can get you back on track. Exercise is known to increase levels of endorphins in the brain, these are the body’s ‘happy’ hormones.
Keeping fit can make you feel better about yourself. If you feel fitter and slimmer you will feel more confident.
When you are more physically fit, you just seem to have more energy. Regular exercise increases your strength and endurance so you will find everyday activities that bit easier. The circulation boost you get from the exercise will be carrying more oxygen around your body to your cells and you will feel much more energetic.
If you are active throughout the day, you will sleep better. Studies have shown that regular exercisers have deeper, better quality sleep. Just don’t be too active close to bedtime or you will get a hit of adrenaline which will prevent you from sleeping.
The key to exercise is to find something that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t want to keep doing it, and consistency is the key to getting the health benefits from exercise.
The issue of injuries
When many people start an exercise regime, ‘beginners’ enthusiasm’ can take over and may lead to us trying to do too much too soon. There are some basic tips we can follow to prevent injuries that will stop us exercising or maybe make us quit it for good.
Check with your doctor before starting an exercise programme.
This is especially important if you have any health condition which may be exacerbated by exercise.Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workout. More is not always better, especially when you are first starting out. Listen to your body and start off gently, with about 20 minutes of moderate exercise 3 times per week if you’re an absolute beginner. A good gym/personal trainer can give you guidance on suitable workouts if you are just starting a programme.
Warm up before you start exercising.
Warm muscles are less likely to be injured. Warm up by brisk walking, jogging on the spot and doing some simple mobility exercises, such as arm swings.
Cool down properly.
It can be tempting to skip the stretching and hit the shower straight away, but you’re increasing your injury risk if you do. Doing some stretches after your workout maintains and increases your flexibility which reduces your risk of injury from even doing the day to day things.
No pain, no gain is a misconception. Some soreness is normal after exercising, particularly if you are only just starting out, but if you are sore every time you work out, there’s something wrong. If you don’t allow yourself time to recover between workouts, especially if they are strenuous, you risk overtraining, tissue damage and reducing your immunity. You need at least one full rest day per week as a minimum. In addition, be sure to get plenty of restorative sleep and vary your workouts so you don’t overstress the same muscles and joints.
Avoid exercising when you are tired or in pain.
Listen to your body. Any excessive fatigue, sharp pains or feeling light-headed upon exertion is a sign that all is not well with your body. Seek medical advice before resuming your exercise regime.
Stay hydrated and wear the right clothing for your activity.
You should be taking on water before during and after exercise, and a sports drink if you are exercising in a hot climate or for over an hour to replace lost electrolytes. Consider the weather conditions and your chosen activity when thinking about what to wear. You can buy clothing that draws sweat away from the skin if you are going to be in a hot climate or doing a strenuous workout. In a colder environment wear a middle layer and top layer made from a fabric such as nylon which will protect you from the wind and rain.
The importance of the right footwear
Your feet are one of your body’s main shock absorbers. They take an enormous amount of force when you exercise, especially if it’s strenuous. So wearing the correct footwear for your chosen activity is very important. It’s a good idea to wear footwear specific to your activity. A gym training shoe would not cut it for running for example. As running is high impact, running shoes are more cushioned and supportive. As well as being tailored to your activity, the shoes need to be tailored to you. What type of feet do you have, what is your gait like (your running/walking pattern)?
If your feet are quite inflexible, your feet may not roll in enough and so your bodyweight is supported on the outsides of the feet, so you might need more heel cushioning. If your feet are flat or very mobile, your feet are more likely to roll in when you walk or run. This makes you prone to knee and hip problems, so a good shoe for you would be one which has plenty of stability and prevents too much motion of the foot.
There’s also footwear available that is the happy medium and there are many confusing combinations of cushioning, stability and control available.
If you do have a problem with your feet, knees or ankles, you should see a health professional for assessment as you may need to wear orthotic insoles in your shoes. These must be custom made for you, and with continued use, they realign the joints in the way they are meant to be aligned, therefore reducing the risk of injury.
When you go to buy shoes, make sure you go somewhere where you can get a proper analysis of how you walk/run so you can get the correct shoes. Have both of your feet measured, as some people have one foot that is up to half a size larger or smaller than the other one. Consider the time of day too, feet swell during the day so will be larger then and they also swell during exercise. Wear socks that are similar to the socks you will wear during exercise. If you are a regular exerciser, replace your training shoes every 12 months.
The problem of plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is the thickening of the band of tissue running underneath the sole of the foot, called the plantar fascia.This can be caused by a recent injury or by a buildup of wear and tear from repetitive training. The condition can be very painful and you will find that you experience pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel bone and pain which is more pronounced after a long period of sitting down or when you first get up in the morning.
There are known causes of plantar fasciitis, and the most common causes tend to be related to the wearing of poor, unsupportive footwear, being overweight and doing too much exercise, too soon.
The usual treatments for the condition are focused on pain management, rehabilitative stretching and in cases which don’t respond to treatment, surgery.
A heel pad
A heel pad is a custom made orthotic which fits inside your shoes. It is useful if you spend a lot of time on your feet or walking on hard surfaces.
A physiotherapist can show you specific stretching exercises to increase flexibility and manage pain.
Applying ice or a cold pack to your heel before going to bed helps reduce inflammation.
Over the counter remedies for inflammation such as ibuprofen are helpful in reducing pain and swelling. Use these with caution if you have a stomach condition however, as they can cause irritation.
A night splint:
This is a special moulded bandage to hold your foot at an angle where your fascia will be stretched during the night.
Ultrasound waves can help promote healing and reduce inflammation.
Injections into your heel can be a good temporary pain-relieving measure. However, the effects don’t last and the potential side effects of the injection, such as damage to the fatty pad in your heel can mean that you end up in more pain in the long term.
You will only be offered surgery where your condition has not responded to treatment or improved at all after one year. If the plantar fasciitis becomes very limiting to your daily activities, you will most likely be offered surgery. However, surgery does not always provide the answer, as a lot of patients still experience pain.
What is a Plantar Fasciitis Sock?
There are a few varieties of the plantar fasciitis sock. One variety is designed to be worn at night and the other varieties are for day wear and general support during activities. The night time version is a knee-high sock that is designed to pull on the toes and hold the foot in such a position that the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia will be subjected to a slight stretch to relieve symptoms of the condition. The night sock has a strap which allows you to adjust the level of stretch applied to the tissues.
The daytime version of the sock can look like a compression bandage for the foot or just like a regular sports sock. These give you extra support when you are active and on your feet and reduce pain significantly.
Here are some of the best plantar fasciitis socks you can get on Amazon.
The best plantar fasciitis socks on Amazon
Fit Nation socks, £14.99 for 2 pairs
Why buy these? For the science
These socks offer targeted compression for unbeatable support. There’s a lot of science behind these socks and they are professionally designed. The socks are designed to compress the foot in 7 areas so that support and pressure is applied where it is needed. The 7 target zones are designed to eliminate the pain in your feet caused by the pull on your Achilles tendon, which in turn affects the plantar fascia.
The company claim that you get instant relief when you put the socks on and that the pressure points increase circulation to your heel, speeding up healing. The socks are good value for money and come in a choice of black or white. Offering multiple pairs in a pack is helpful because if you are active, you will need to wear them as much as possible. The company actually offers a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied, you can’t say fairer than that!
Physix Gear Sport Plantar Fasciitis Socks with Arch Support
Why buy these? They are unisex and a choice of colours is offered.
These socks are designed to bring fast relief from heel pain, allowing you to walk normally. The socks offer ankle support but without any restriction. The compression in the socks improves the circulation and reduces inflammation. The socks are available in pink and black and they look quite stylish. This brand is recommended by physical trainers, and can be worn all day or even at night. The socks are comfortable to wear and offer the right amount of compression. They are made from fabric which allows the skin to breathe and wicks away moisture so you can stay comfortable during a workout. The company offers a money back guarantee if you try them for 30 days and you aren’t satisfied.
Nuolox Plantar Fasciitis Athletic Socks
Why buy these? For everyday use
These socks look the most like normal sports socks you would wear during a workout. They are a good match of comfort and style and offer compression support to the heel. There is extra cushioning on the foot pads and banding in the sock which acts like an arch support. These would be excellent for gym goers and at £5.99 per pair, they are great value for money. They are available in blue, white and grey.
Copper Shield Plantar Fasciitis Copper Lined Ankle Socks
Why buy these? These socks are lined with copper for healing.
The socks are lined with copper and the company guarantees that they will cure your condition or you get your money back! As well as helping plantar fasciitis, the socks can help with arthritis, swelling and circulation problems and muscle and tendon injuries.
The socks can be worn during sports, when you are on your feet during the day for a long time, when you are sat at a desk and can even be used as flight socks to prevent deep vein thrombosis.
The copper lining combined with the specially designed woven pattern in the socks supports the right places in the foot to reduce plantar fasciitis and other foot and lower limb conditions.
They are made of light, breathable material so anyone on their feet for a long time, such as nurses or doctors can benefit from wearing them and experience the comfort. They can be worn under regular socks or by themselves.
Pro11 Wellbeing Plantar Fasciitis night splint sock
Why buy these? Night time wear
This plantar fasciitis sock is a knee high sock and resembles a bandage. It has a strap attached which pulls on the toes, giving the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon a gentle stretch throughout the night to relieve symptoms. The sock does not interfere with sleep as it is very comfortable and you can adjust the level of stretch that is offered. The stretching effect puts the tissues in an optimal position for healing. These socks are priced at £15.99 for one sock, but one sock will last forever. The sock is lightweight yet tough, and can be worn around the house or during the night. It is recommended by physiotherapists and instructions for fitting the sock are provided.
Exercise is a great lifestyle choice, whatever your age and whatever your fitness level. But sometimes we can overdo it or make the mistake of not wearing the right footwear, and injuries can occur. Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition but it can be managed with pain medication, stretches and as you have seen, a good pair of supportive compression socks, which allow you to carry on with you everyday life when you’re busy and can’t spend too much time off your feet. Now there’s no need, you can keep on going, thanks to Amazon and the best current technology in supportive footwear.