Did The Invention Of Shoes Coincide With The Emergence Of Plantar Fasciitis?

Homegrown carrots

I love our homegrown carrots. Photo by FitOldDog.

If you don’t understand the cause of a disease, you’ll have trouble fixing it. The pump handle problem.

FitOldDog's shoes and socks

Shoes have been shown to both cure and induce plantar fasciitis. Photo by FitOldDog.

You know how ideas can just pop into your head, when you’re not thinking about anything? It happened this morning. I was writing a short story about carrots. My mind said to me, out of the blue, “When was plantar fasciitis first experienced? At the time shoes were invented, or long before that?

What on Earth has this got to do with carrots?

Imagine a primitive hunter gatherer, if they in fact were primitive. He/she awakens to stabbing heel pain. No doctors, just the gods. This sure would take them out of the gene pool pretty quickly. Maybe their feet and arches were so tough that the problem didn’t arise.

Humans started wearing shoes about 40,000 years ago.” Did the searing heel pain erupt in those early shoe wearers? How about this thought experiment? Imagine your parents fitted you with mittens, with no thumb. Everyone did so! It was the normal thing to do. Your hands are restrained all day. You would learn to do many things in these mittens. You wouldn’t be able to play the piano. The drums might be fine. You could learn to write. Would you miss all the activities that demand the use of independent digits. No! How can you miss what you’ve never experienced. Same thing with shoes, and those carrots, of course!


Hidden rabbit in FitOldDog's vegetable garden.

Do you see him, hiding in my garden – an uninvited guest, who loves sweet potato shoots? Photo by FitOldDog.

What have we done to the American palate?

“These carrots don’t taste right,” said the young man. Seventeen years old, and ready to get on with life! “They don’t even taste right with Ranch Dressing.” The way carrots are supposed to be eaten! What was the problem? These particular carrots hadn’t travelled for days or weeks, since they were extracted from the soil of some remote vegetable factory farm. Separated from any ‘imperfect peers.’ Shipped across the world, to arrive on an American boys dinner plate, days or even weeks later. They were from a local farm, having been gently coaxed from the ground the day before. It wasn’t that they tasted wrong. They tasted right! I recovered from my surprise, and immediately finished up those abandoned carrots. Delicious! They possessed the same range of textures, aromas and flavors as the carrots in the picture at the top of this post. Those particular carrots were from our ‪#‎vegetablegarden‬, harvested yesterday.

Go figure!


  • If you’ve eaten terrible carrots all your life, they seem normal.
  • If you’ve worn mittens all your life, it would seem normal.
  • That’s why shoes seem normal.

What family thinks of me being vegan.Shoes can both induce and cure plantar fasciitis. Based on some heart-rending stories I came across on Facebook, during our research.

So can pregnancy induce and cure this heel pain.

  • So can running!
  • So can barefoot running.
  • So can arch supports.
  • So can a host of other things.

My advice: If you develop plantar fasciitis, start by changing your shoes.

There’s a one in ten chance it will fix your pain. Pretty good odds in the world of plantar fasciitis.

If not, try everything else, until you discover what works for you – every case is different.

Wishing you happy feet.




  1. This is an interesting read. Before I developed plantar fasciitis I didn’t really think about the shoes I was wearing, but now invest a lot of time and effort into the comfort and support of my shoes and feet. I think if more people were interested in their shoes from the beginning with they might get this problem less, especially when it comes to the shoes they are wearing during exercise and running.

    • Hi Benjamin.
      Sorry for the slow reply. Shoes are critical, I agree. Developing arch strength should be part of shoe strategy. I use Nike Frees to strengthen my arches for walking and short runs. I have to employ more supportive running shoes for long races, especially when running off of the bike.
      Happy Trails.
      Kevin aka FitOldDog

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.