You get out of the bed in the morning and as you take your first steps to the kitchen you feel a burning, stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot. You think you might have plantar fasciitis. You’re probably asking yourself, “What can I do about my foot pain”?
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and occurs at the “plantar fascia” on your foot. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot by stretching slightly when you step down and then shortens back to maintain the arch and support your weight as you walk. The plantar fascia absorbs a great deal of weight when walking and especially when running and is therefore prone to injury.
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What is Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia generally caused by small tears or over-stretching of the plantar fascia.
Common causes include:
- Arthritis can cause inflammation in the joints and tendons and can be a contributing cause of PF
- Excessive pronation (feet roll inward while standing or walking)
- Walking, standing, running for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces; athletes are at greater risk of experiencing PF
- Wearing shoes that don’t fit well or don’t provide sufficient cushioning when exercising or standing for long periods
The most common symptom is a sharp stabbing or burning pain in the heel on the bottom of your foot. Pain is most commonly felt in the morning when first walking and stretching the foot. This is thought to be due to the fact that while you sleep, the plantar fascia shortens and when you stand in the morning, the inflamed or torn fibers of the plantar fascia are stretched, causing pain. Once the foot limbers up, the pain usually diminishes, but it may return after periods of standing, climbing stairs, getting up from a seated position or when exercising. The pain may lessen throughout the day only to return later.
Give your feet a rest and try not to walk or run on hard surfaces. You can help reduce pain and swelling by icing the foot for 10-15 minutes after exercising and taking anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
Other Treatment Options
- Doing exercises such as calf and toe stretches before you get out of bed and taking your first step is recommended
- Firmly pressing on and rolling a tennis ball under your foot is a good way to get a deep massage
- Wear shoes with good arch support and a cushioned sole
- Orthotics, insoles that go inside your shoes, provide added arch support, especially if you stand or run for long periods of time; wear orthotics in both shoes – even if only one foot hurts
- A foot brace or splint that keeps a slight stretch on the arch can be extremely helpful
A study done with the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons looked at the recovery times of plantar fasciitis sufferers assigned to a calf stretching regimen vs those assigned to a night splint routine.The results were significant. Patients wearing the night splints recovered within about 18 days. Those with a calf stretching routine recovered in roughly 60 days. (That’s a 40 day difference)
Treatment can last a few weeks, but could take up to several months to a year. It’s important to follow your healthcare providers instructions. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a cortisone shot or if symptoms persist beyond a year of treatment, surgery may be an option.
How can I prevent it from coming back?
Once the pain subsides, continuing to wear your foot brace when exercising and at night will keep a gentle stretch on the bottom of your foot and the arch tissue loose. If using orthotics, wear them as directed and continue stretching and exercises, especially in the morning.Like what you’ve read? Click here to subscribe to the blog!
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Our blogs are educational in nature and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic treatments. We are always happy to answer questions about products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.