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How to Make a Running WorkOut a Good Thing

How To Make a Running WorkOut a Good Thing

I’m sure by now you are well aware that running is one of the best forms of aerobic conditioning for your heart and lungs. Thus, it’s one of the best ways to stay in shape and lose weight. What you may not be aware of is that too much running, when it becomes an addiction, can actually weaken your body and oddly increase body fat. This post examines the  line between a dedication to running for health and a dangerous exercise addiction that could destroy your body. Since you’re reading this post, it’s safe to assume that you’re already interested in running. You may have already laced up your running shoes a fe
w times and hit the pavement. Great! Now it’s time to know how to make a running workout a good thing. You’ll  understand how to run for the right reasons. This means you’ll want to avoid these four Mistakes.

tips on good running form
Good running form

[Linking Excessive Running to Excessive Benefits] Mistake #1:   This is just another way of saying overtraining can lead to the exact results that you don’t want— athletic performance collapses, leading to all sorts of fitness and health troubles including fatigue, unwanted chronic injury, and an odd condition known as “skinny fat”; skinny in appearance but with increased total body-fat mass. This is due to subsequent loss in lean muscle, you will be more prone to injury since the body will have less anatomical support structure for proper movement.

What Dancers Can Teach Us        

tips on foot pain
Dancer’s foot pain

Some useful information can be gleamed from the Ballet world to understand what overtraining does. Megan Richardson, an athletic trainer specializing in dance medicine at New York University’s Langone Medical Center and in private practice, explains that every time you exercise, you are breaking down the muscular tissues.

This breakdown, followed by a rest period, causes the muscles to rebuild and become stronger. “When we are doing too much exercise and don’t have enough rest periods, or enough nutrition, we don’t get that rebuilding,” she says. “All we get is breakdown.” The result is weaker muscles and a higher likelihood of injury. Dance Magazine . 91.2 (Feb. 2017): p46.

Here’s what you have to think about. Running should, because of all its benefits, be a fun and positive endeavor. The key is to make sure you have created a running plan that is motivating,  enjoyable, and healthy. You can only do that by ridding from your mind the misconception that overtraining will lead to massive  benefits. It will only break you.

 

 

[Managing Depression] Mistake #2: This is another big and common misconception, simply because running has also been reported to alleviate stress.  In fact there’s a term called the runner’s high. It is used to describe a euphoric state which is experienced by anyone engaged in strenuous exercise. [sup][1]

This phenomenon was first reported in a group of long distance marathon runners who reported that they felt “so good after the event as if they had taken some psychedelic drug.”  Recent studies have in fact confirmed that most runners typically report being happier and feeling less stressed from the grind of daily life. That said, lessening stress is not the same thing as managing depression.

 

tips on great running
Great running

Here is how to best understand the point. Imagine that you have just been in a big argument with a friend, a real blowup. You decide to go for a mile run and afterward you feel a lot better. The next time you get into a similar argument it takes 2 miles to feel as good as before. You then find yourself increasing the milage to feel the same sense of relief as you did the first mile. In short, running hasn’t really addressed the underlying issue that has caused your despair. If you’re unhappy, running may help to ease that feeling but it won’t get rid of it. As stated, running has great health benefits. However, it should not be used as a coping mechanism for something like depression. Don’t get me wrong. Running can indeed lessen the chance of depression. However, for those already experiencing depression running isn’t a sufficient answer.

[Running Out of Fear] Mistake #3: This point is related to the one above. Does the saying “you can’t run away from your problems” sound familiar?  Diana Israel is a psychotherapist and psychology professor at Naropa University, Colorado.

She is also a former competitive athlete and the executive producer of “Beauty Mark” a film about self-image and self-acceptance.  In an article for The New York Times, she states:

“When we exercise despite injuries or well past complete exhaustion; when we hear a monologue in our heads that we are lazy, incapable, unworthy; when we can’t pause to enjoy a day of rest or redirect ourselves to other self-renewing activities–we are engaging in obsessive behavior. If we are focusing more on the regimen of exercise than the pleasure we get from it, then that’s addiction.”

https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/06/24/addicted-to-endorphins/when-exercise-is-driven-by-fear-instead-of-pleasure

So Run For Pleasure  And  Not Out of Fear

[Not Knowing Why You Run] Mistake #4: Why Run?

Ask anyone why they run and you’ll hear a variety of answers including, but certainly not limited to:

  • Because it’s fun
  • It helps me sleep
  • It’s my stress reliever
  • Because my doctor told me to
  • Because my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend does
  • To lose weight
  • To control my blood pressure
  • To keep my metabolism humming
  • To increase/maintain my hormones/libido
  • To be part of a community
  • It’s the fastest way to burn the most calories
  • Because you don’t have to join a gym
  • For the runner’s high
  • To avoid cancer/diabetes/heart disease
  • Because my friends do

The list could go on and on. The point is that everyone has a reason to run. Before you begin running it’s important to find your reason. You can have many reasons of course and like many your reasons may change over time. However, if you try to start running without a reason, it’ll be difficult to stay motivated. Running because you think you should usually isn’t enough to get through the first mile. Worse, running because you are afraid will add to your unhappiness. This won’t be your worry since you have read this post.

 

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Reference:

1. Hinton ER, Taylor S. Does placebo response mediate  runner’s high? Percept Mot Skills 1986;62:789-90.

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How to Better Know Barefoot Running

How to Better Know Barefoot Running

If you have done some searching around the web about running you might be aware of the hot debate over barefoot running. The debate, that started years ago, centers on whether running in shoes with cushioned heels and supportive structures changes the way people move so dramatically that it’s more likely to cause injuries. In short, people can learn,some argue, to run without heel striking. People can learn how to better know barefoot running.

Proponents of barefoot running say, “the natural way is more likely to prompt a runner to land on the padded and springy part of the foot, toward the front, rather than strike the ground with the heel as many shod runners do.”  Reuters Health medical News. (Dec. 10, 2011)

Thus this post seeks to answer the question as to whether running in bare  feet reduces or increases the risk of injury for you.

First,  let’s  get a good understanding of the concepts that I’m covering in this post.

 

tips on running
running bare foot

Heel Striking

Stuart Warden, a researcher for the Department of Physical Therapy at Indiana University, observes that the feet of runners land differently, depending on whether one is running in bare feet or in athletic shoes with a big cushion under the heel. The shoes encourage the runner to strike the ground with heels first. Barefoot running encourages the runner to land on the forefoot or balls of the feet. Source Citation MLA 8th

Stronger hips improved running mechanics, lessened knee pain (http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/18772.html#6)

Impact Force

When the heel strikes the ground in a shoe, there is an impact force that is felt  up through the foot and into the body. As noted in a previous post, the impact force can cause stress fractures and other injuries associated with running such as Plantar Fasciitis. By decreasing those forces, the risk of injury is reduced. When barefoot runners’ feet strike the ground, “the runner is landing on the front or middle of the foot and the heel is lowered to the ground,” notes Stuart Warden in the mentioned report. This means the  impact force is less and the risk of potential injury is lower.

Adaptability

The theory speaks to the ability of the feet to adjust to different environment and in the process become stronger. It goes something like this: when someone runs bare feet, the foot lands differently each time and works different muscles thus strengthening the foot.

Okay, let’s jump to it.

The Case For Running Barefoot

Meet the Tarahumara Indians.

 

They  come from Northern Mexico and routinely run in races of 150 miles or more. Here’s the really impressive thing. The Tarahumara don’t seem to suffer from injuries associated  with running. Christopher McDougall, a researcher tells an interesting story. He states, “back in 1994, a Tarahumara man ventured out of the canyons to compete against an elite field of runners at the Leadville Trail Ultramarathon, a 100-mile race through the Rocky Mountains. He wore homemade sandals. He was 55 years old. He won.”  Daily Telegraph[London, England], 12 Jan.2010

 

  

McDougall noted that the Tarahumara didn’t pound their  feet when running. He says,” Unlike the vast majority of modern runners, who come down heavily on their foam-covered heels and roll forward off their toes, the Tarahumara land lightly on their forefeet and bend their knees, as you would if you jumped from a chair.”

Christopher McDougall in the mentioned reports states:

“Daniel Lieberman, the head of the evolutionary anthropology department at Harvard, recruited Harvard students for an experiment: he had them kick off their sneakers and run every day in either bare feet or wearing a thin, rubber foot-glove called the Vibram Fivefingers. The results were remarkable. Once their shoes were taken away, the students instinctively stopped clumping down on their heels. Instead, they began landing lightly on the balls of their feet, keeping their feet beneath their hips and bending at the knees and ankles. Without knowing it, they were mirroring the Tarahumara.”

tips on great running form
Great running form

To further his case for barefoot running, Christopher McDougall goes to  the  army sort to speak. He notes how “ for centuries, armies have had to train out-of-shape recruits to cover marathon distances on their feet. Rather than dispensing plush trainers, the military took another route. As described in the classic military text The Soldier’s Foot and the Military Shoe, all new recruits are taught to land lightly on the balls of their feet. They keep their feet under their hips, swinging their legs in a quick, light shuffle to a beat of 180 strides per minute – which, not surprisingly, exactly matches the ancient running rhythm of the Tarahumara.” (Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Increasing your Feet’s adaptability

Dr. Najia Shakoor a researcher at Chicago’s Rush Medical College notes that when your feet can sense the ground, it sends a message “Your body tells itself, My foot just hit the ground, I’m about to start walking, so let’s activate all these mechanisms to keep my joints safe. Your body’s natural neuromechanical-feedback mechanisms can work to protect the rest of your extremities. You have much more sensory input than when you’re insulated by a thick outsole.” [ Adam Sterbergh New York Magazine, april 28, 2008 pg. 24]

Adam Sterbergh

This simply means that shoes and thick padding, according  to those who are barefoot running enthusiasts, changes  the way you walk and run in a negative  way.

Conclusion

You’ve been learning how to strengthen your feet by barefoot running. And while this may be a good method for lots of people, it’s not for everyone. Indeed, this method may be dangerous for people who already have Plantar Fasciitis and other related running injuries.

That’s because  people with running related injuries at advances stages simply can not do this method because it will worsen their condition. If you fall into this category, then here’s what you should do instead. Stay with running shoes that give you good support. If later you want to transition to barefoot running you should do so gradually. If you are a recreation runner and have done well with running shoes, there isn’t any reason to switch.

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Using a Pedometer For Walking

Using a Pedometer For Walking

Picture for a moment what it would be like if you didn’t have to dedicate a set block of time for your walking workouts. The good news is that dreaming about getting the health benefits of a 45 minute walk isn’t just a fantasy—it CAN happen; all you have to do is work in a little more activity here and there throughout your day  and track it with the help of a pedometer.

tips on walking
using a pedometer

Where to Get a Pedometer

You can pick up an inexpensive model at your local super store or order it from Amazon. You can also go with something a little fancier like a Fitbit, but before  you dole out more cash check your smart phone. Many models have a pedometer built in. All you need to do is download a free app and you are good to go.

How to Use a Pedometer

The pedometer will track how many steps you take on any given day. It will also track how many minutes you’ve spent being active and how many miles you’ve walked. In other words, it keeps track of how much exercise you get during your day. Here’s the sweet deal. It doesn’t matter if you head out after work for a 45 minute walk, or if you work out in little spurts here and there throughout the day. So for example, you start your day by parking a little further away from the office and walking a couple of hundred extra steps. Then you take a quick stroll during your lunch break. You wrap up your day by walking around the park while your kids play. And just like that you’ve gotten your exercise in without having to block out any additional time.

Give it a try. Put on a pedometer, or start tracking with that phone you’re always carrying around anyway and see how much you’re walking around any given day. From there, try to get a little more active as time goes by until you hit your stepping goal. For most of us 10,000 steps per day is a good long term goal, but if you’re feeling more ambitious than that, go for it.

Conclusion

The whole point of this post was to make you think about your position on dedicating  a block of time for a 45 minute walk.

Indeed, you started out thinking that it isn’t possible to get the benefits of a long walk because of your tight schedule. I hope by now that you’ve come to realize that with just the right tweak of your schedule and the use of a pedometer you can  in fact get the benefits  of a 45 minute walk. Go ahead and try it. Looking at your pedometer and realizing you’re 2,000 steps away from your daily goal is a big victory on a journey to better health.

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New Balance Shoes for Women With Plantar Fasciitis

New Balance Shoes For Women With Plantar Fasciitis

One big fault that I find with otherwise well written reviews is the assumption by the writer that his or her audience will understand the terminology used in the description of the product. This is not always the case and the misconception results in a less helpful review. With this in mind, I would like to give a brief heads- up about the terminology  that I  use in reviewing new balance shoes for women with plantar fasciitis.

Pronation

When looking for a running or walking shoe, it’s important to understand how your feet pronate, or naturally flatten when they hit the ground.

A person with a normal arch typically is a normal pronator. This means the outside part of the heel hits the ground first, and the foot rolls slightly inward and makes full contact with the ground. A shoe offering stability and some pronation control is a good choice. Over-pronation means that feet pronate to an excessive degree while standing, walking or running. Check the illustration  below.

Joseph E. Moscolino

Stability

To check for stability, twist and turn on the balls of your feet. Your heels should stay in the heel cup; your toes shouldn’t bump up against the top of the shoe or jam forward. For lateral stability, twist and slide to the side. If your feet pronate (roll in) or supinate (fall to the outside), the shoe lacks motion control.

https://runnersconnect.net/footwear-and-foot-type/

Flat Feet Also Called Over-Pronation

If you have flat feet, your arches  are low or maybe even absent. See the illustration.

tips on flat feet
flat feet

Flat feet are often associated with excessive pronation , which is the action that causes the foot’s arch to descend down and inward (flattening) as the foot strikes the ground. Pronation is a normal and necessary foot motion. Over-pronation, as noted, means that feet pronate to an excessive degree while standing, walking or running.

A Quick Reference Point

Here is The Review of  New Balance Shoes For Women With Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common injury for those who enjoy their morning/evening run on a routine basis. It causes a pain in the heel and this happens due to wearing the wrong running shoes with very little cushioning and support. To reduce this pain, you will require a good pair of running shoes that have a thick sole for shock absorption to allow you to get back out there. There are shoes designed specifically for people with plantar fasciitis because they help speed up the recovery process.

Most Common Cause Of Plantar Fasciitis

The most common cause of Plantar Fasciitis is flat feet. It occurs when the elastic band that connects the joints to the heel, known as the fascia is torn. The sole which is the planta becomes very irritated and could cause a heel spur syndrome.

Factors To Consider For Plantar Fasciitis Shoes

When choosing shoes for anyone with plantar fasciitis, one important factor to consider is arch support. This will ensure the foot maintains a natural posture and will ease the pain experienced in other parts of the foot over time.

Choosing the right insoles is also another factor to consider when picking a good pair of running shoes. The wrong insoles could lead to more pain. For plantar fasciitis, the insoles chosen should be more accommodating and functional. This means they can cushion the sore spots better and correct any abnormal postures.

New Balance Shoes For Plantar fasciitis

Here are some of the top shoes you can use for plantar fasciitis if heel pain is a common problem. This footwear gives the much-needed support and protection for anyone who spends hours on end on their feet or does a lot of running.

 1.New Balance W1540 

This is one of the best shoes for motion control for flat feet runners. They have a strong midsole which provides protection against shock. A variety of foot types can fit into these shoes and they are very comfortable to wear. They correct extreme cases of over- pronation and supination courtesy of the RollBar motion control technology. Other than providing excellent fit, it also provides cushioning, stability and comfort.

On the negative side is It can be quite expensive to purchase a pair of these shoes, retailing for at least 120 dollars a pair.

2.New Balance 990v4 

These can be used for your everyday run or wear and are constructed using a combination of leather and quality fabric. They have breathable mesh keeping your feet comfortable in any and all conditions. This is a big improvement over the 990v3.The lace keeper ensures the tongue is kept in place while running. Their variety of sizes makes them a great choice for people with either wide or narrow feet. The midsole has an ACTEVA LITE foam designed to give you stability and support. There is also a reduced over- pronation courtesy of the redesigned midsole giving your feet a little more room.

The latest version of this shoe may be a little narrower than the previous versions. However, they are a breathable, stable and durable pair of shoes that are ideal for plantar fasciitis due to their EVA core heel protection technology.

3.New Balance 1260v6 

This is an excellent shoe for runners who require support for moderate over- pronation. It offers a lot more stability due to its features which include: an asymmetrical heel counter, a medial post, and a midfoot shank. The upper has been designed with overlays that cover the entire midsole making it more supportive. This shoe also provides full ground contact and is surprisingly lightweight. The firm midsole has a moderate amount of cushioning. This is less cushioning compared to another model of the New Balance line of shoes; the New Balance 870v4. The shoe is also not that flexible.

4.New Balance 870v4 

This shoe from New Balance gets a lot of comparison to the above-mentioned model, the New Balance 1260v6. They are lightweight, provide support and stability just as any good pair should. The heel counter is a bit higher on the medial side to prevent rolling in of the ankle joints. The midsole provides cushioning for the sole and heel. It is also designed to prevent over- pronation by stopping the inward rolling of the ankle joint. The upper offers support and a more secure fit keeping you comfortable during your runs.

They also provide a good amount of ground contact and are breathable keeping you comfortably dry and cool in any running condition. They are highly durable and their flexibility makes them feel like they were specifically crafted for your feet. They are ideal for slight and moderate over-pronators.

5.New Balance 1340v2

These have been identified as good plantar fasciitis running shoes. They use a Stabilicore medial support system to give you a healthier and more comfortable run. there is the perfect transition allowed between heel strike and the shoe keeping you balanced throughout your run. The rubber outsole gives the shoe excellent grip. The rubber compound fitted on areas which experience the highest impact to enhance its durability. It has a wider toe box allowing your toes to fit in comfortably. They also have a TBeam shank designed to give torsional stability and a polyurethane insert that provides the much need flexibility, support, and comfort. Runners can go for miles and miles without experiencing any pains or aches.

They have been reviewed to be a bit narrow by some people and sometimes have short laces. However, these shoes are ideal for plantar fasciitis running.

6.New Balance
These lightweight shoes are the best for runners seeking optimum performance. The breathable mesh keeps you comfortable when running and the REVlite midsole and ABZORB cushioning in them ensure your feet are well protected in case you hit the sidewalk when running. The Crash Pad gives improved motion control and excellent stability. The rubber outsoles give it maximum durability ensuring these shoes last for a long while.

Conclusion

I hope now  you have a clearer picture of what a foot strike means in terms of support, stability, and motion . This should  enable you to better  choose the best new balance shoes for women with plantar fasciitis.

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Home Cure For Plantar Fasciitis

Home Cure For Plantar Fasciitis

You’ve probably been searching around the web for quite some time now, trying to learn as much as you can about home cure for plantar fasciitis. Or maybe you’ve even tried using stretching exercises to target the achilles tendon to diminish heel pain, but it didn’t turn out as well as you hoped. Indeed, if you’re like a lot of beginner runners, then you probably ended up getting insignificant improvement of pain from your stretching program.

Tips on Home Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
Home Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

Don’t despair. You too can start getting relief from your plantar fasciitis, and all you have to do is tweak your stretching and treatment strategy a bit. Generally, that means you need to avoid making the following four common recovery type of mistakes. Read on to find out what they are.

[Targeting The Achilles] Mistake #1: Just guessing, but I’m betting that close to half of beginning runners, such as your weekend warrior make this mistake. Worse yet, some of the blogs you find around the web actually teach people to stretch the achilles tendon. Mistake!

If you see someone advocating it, run. That’s because recent studies have shown that tradition achilles tendon stretching instead of the plantar fascia based method produced poor results. Instead, what you want to do is to sit with one leg crossed over the other, then stretch the arch of the foot by taking one hand and pulling the toes back toward the shin for a count of 10. The stretch should be repeated 10 times and performed at least three times a day, with the first set of the day before the first step is taken in the morning. The stretch also should be performed before standing after a prolonged period of sitting. A recent study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that a group of 82 patients reported marked improvement in this condition when they followed this simple stretching protocol. http://journals.lww.com

 

Here are other good exercises that will help relive your heel pain.

 

Towel curl: place the foot flat on the end of a towel spread on a smooth surface. Keeping the heel on the floor, you then pull the towel toward the body by curling the toes.

Marble pick-ups: place a few marbles on the floor near a cup; keeping the heel on the floor, you then pick them up with the toes and drop them in the cup. This exercise is good to prevent heel pain and stiffness in the feet. It will keep the feet and toes flexible, and is especially beneficial for runners. Do use some cation. Keep in mind  that marbles tend to roll and can be dangerous around the house. I would replace the marbles with plastic jacks.

Toe taps: lift up all the toes, keeping the heel on the floor; with the outside 4 toes in the air, the big toe is tapped repeatedly on the floor. The exercise is then reversed; keep the big toe in the air and tap the outside 4 toes on the floor.

[Training Errors] Mistake #2: This another exceedingly common mistake, simply because many people never take the time to make an assessment of any changes in their  routine including a recent increase in weight-bearing activity,  and increased intensity of physical activity,  and walking or running on hard surfaces. Let’s take  one element  at a time:

  • Weight Gain. A survey, conducted by the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) found that foot and ankle problems can be linked to an individual’s weight and body mass index (BMI).  More than 6000 individuals responded to the survey, which was conducted on the Society’s public education website, FootCareMD.com.  Here’s what you need to know. A conclusion of the study states: “Increased BMI has also been found to increase foot pressures with standing and walking, and is no doubt a precursor to  foot and ankle pain.”
  • Increased Intensity of physical Activity. Also, In general, people carry approximately four to six times their body weight across the ankle joint when climbing up stairs or walking steep inclines. So you won’t be able to use such activities as a substitute for running. Instead, what you want to do is  to convert your high impact activities to low-impact activities, such as biking or swimming. Low-impact activities combined with good stretching  should help a lot with your heel pain.
  • Walking OR Running On Hard Surfaces. Remember the Popular song “Hit The Road Jack” by Ray Charles? Well, don’t do it. Your favorite road  to run on may be too hard on your heels. You may want to seek a route that is more foot friendly. One of the things you can do is to keep a journal as you try different routes. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just something that will help you gage the level of pain caused by  or lessened by the surface that you are using.

[Choosing The Wrong Shoe] Mistake #3: Don’t feel bad if you make this mistake. That’s because even some of the biggest experts in the running  industry can send wrong- headed messages. They confuse foot muscle building through  minimalist  foot ware, the notion that running barefoot is actually the best way to strength and toughen  your feet,  with what is needed to treat immediate heel pain. Properly fitting shoes should  have a minimal 1-inch heel height with well-cushioned midsoles. In general put your shoes through the “pretzel” test to gauge their  supportiveness. If you can easily twist the shoes into a pretzel-like shape, they’re not very supportive and you should avoid them.Your feet and  back will thank you for it. Below is a similar test done by a machine.

Mitch Mandel

[Getting The Wrong Insole] Mistake #4: This one is a little tricky, simply because you could be perfectly on track and doing all the right things, but suddenly you realize you’ve chosen the wrong insole  and your pain hasn’t gotten any better. If it happens to you, don’t worry – you can get back on track with your recovery  goals with the tips I am going to give you. However, it’s important that you understand something. Most insoles out there may not work for your particular feet and some may actually make things worse. Some insoles, for example, will will push your arches upward way too far causing a tight fit that might give you cramps.

Others have gels that are advertised to mould to your foot, but don’t. They are flimsy  pieces of crap and all your feet do is squish down on them. On the other extreme are insoles  that are too rigid and give you the feeling of landing on pavement and—not at all what you want.

Here is what you should look for so you end up with insoles that will work:

  • You want insoles that are dense enough, semirigid, to increase your ability to absorb the force generated by the impact of a foot strike.
  • Soft and roomy enough to flex your  toes.
  • Longitudinal support, meaning the entire length of your foot will be supported.

Conclusion

One of the most effective non-surgical treatment for plantar fasciitis is combining correct stretching of the plantar fascia with low-impact training, proper foot ware and insoles. Yes, it’s true – now you too can relieve your plantar fasciitis, especially if you avoid these common home cure for plantar fasciitis mistakes. Try it out today to prove it to yourself!

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Reference:

Source Citation (MLA 8th Edition)

“Survey suggest obesity may cause foot problems.” Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week, 6 Aug. 2005, p. 1622. Health Reference Center Academic