The plantar fascia (i.e. flat band of ligaments connecting the heel bone to the toes) supports the arch of the foot. When the plantar fascia is consistently strained, it can become swollen, inflamed or weakened. This can cause pain in bottom of the foot or heel to hurt as you walk or stand in one spot.
Plantar fasciitis is very prevalent in middle aged individuals. However, it frequently occurs in younger people who spend prolonged periods of time on their feet.
Plantar Fasciitis Causes:
Repeated straining of the supporting ligaments of the foot arch can ultimately result in tiny tears. Plantar fasciitis often develops with:
- Excessive pronation.
- Flat feet or high arches.
- Prolonged periods of standing, walking and/or running, particularly on hard surfaces.
- Being overweight or obese.
- Ill-fitting or worn out shoes.
- Tight calf muscles or Achilles tendons.
Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms:
The most typical symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain occurring when you take your first steps in the morning, or you have been sitting for a long time. This pain can come and go over the course of the day. The most pain may occur when you climb stairs or if you stand for a long period of time.
Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosis:
A Podiatrist generally examines a patient's feet, watches the manner in which they walk/stand and asks questions related to:
- Previous health history.
- Current symptoms.
- Intensity and types of physical activities in which you participate.
Additionally, the foot care specialist may order an X-ray of the feet to check for any other types of associated injuries.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options:
- Rest: Reduce activities that cause any heel pain. Avoid walking or running on hard surfaces.
- Ice Packs: Apply ice packs to the affected areas to help decrease pain, swelling and/or inflammation.
- Pain Relievers and Anti-Inflammatories: Take pain relievers/anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin.
- Stretching Exercises: Perform stretching exercises for the toes and calf muscles several times during the course of the day.
- New Shoes and/or Orthotics: Choose appropriate footwear that has cushioned soles and good arch supports. Orthotics may also be helpful. Dansko and Vionic with Orthaheel Technology offer plenty of shoes designed specifically to accommodate the aches of pains, so browse our selection of plantar fasciitis shoes today.
If none of the above treatments alleviate plantar fasciitis, the foot specialist may provide the patient with nighttime splints as well as administer cortisone injections into the heel to reduce inflammation.
Within a few weeks of treatment, heel pain should begin to subside. However, since plantar fasciitis develops over time, it can take a few months to a year for the pain to disappear completely. Be patient and persistent with any prescribed treatments.