How to prevent heel strikes? By avoiding an increase, especially sudden, in body weight, and avoiding to wear poorly adapted footwear, with the sole too rigid or excessively low, that does not support the foot in its movements and in its multiple activities. Moreover, heel strikes may be prevented by performing certain stretching exercises before any physical activity.
Are there any tricks that we can put into practice in everyday life to minimize the likelihood of developing the disorder? The problem is scientifically known as “enthesopathy of the plantar fascia” and popularly known as heel spurs or plantar fasciitis: pain characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia, the structure of fibrous connective tissue that “supports” the arch. To explain how one can prevent heel strikes we ask M. Cristina d’Agostino, orthopedic specialist and head of the Shockwave Therapy Center at the Clinical Institute of Humanitas, Rozzano (Milan).
“In addition to conducting a healthy way of life that allows us to control our weight – the overweight can play a decisive role in the onset of symptoms, especially if the weight increase is sudden – and to control the pathologies already in progress, it is of paramount importance to recognize if there are deformities of the foot such as flat-footedness or cavus, and, if possible, to correct them adequately with custom imprint orthoses, or the so-called orthotics, inserted in appropriate footwear. The orthotics can reduce the risk of recurrence after recovery from plantar fasciitis and potentially reduce the risk of onset in susceptible individuals. ”
The shoes are important for the health of the foot
The shoes we wear play an important role in the prevention of heel strikes: “If you do not have special foot problems, however, it is always a good idea to wear comfortable shoes or to support the foot but without constraint; for women a few centimetres of heel may help. It is important to prefer footwear with suitable soles for the appropriate gait, or not too thin, but not too stiff. The speech takes on particular importance, of course, if transferred in the field of sports footwear, where the performance required of the foot is higher. ”
Finally it is important, especially for those dedicated to sports – said the expert – to devote a few minutes a day to stretching and proprioceptive training of the foot and ankle to reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases such as the plantar fascia. Do not forget that the best, but the only, cure for heel strikes is prevention.”