The condition known as plantar fasciitis can cause significant pain to form under your heel. While it does usually go away after a while, most people can’t bear the pain for extended periods of time. Like with other pain-related conditions, there are ways in the form of treatments for plantar fasciitis that can eventually subside the pain and make people feel better when moving around.
So, what is plantar fasciitis anyway? What should I know about plantar fasciitis and plantar fasciitis treatment, just in case I might experience the condition in the future?
The condition plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes its characteristic pain to form underneath your heel. That’s because it causes your plantar fascia to become inflamed. The plantar fascia is known as a strong band of tissue (similar to a ligament) that stretches from the heel to the bones in the middle part of the foot. That particular band of tissue is also responsible for supporting the arch of your foot, acting as a natural shock absorber for the entire foot.
This condition is mainly caused by several and often repeated injuries to the fascia itself. These injuries are usually smaller injuries that accumulate over time. Most of the injuries usually occur near where the plantar fascia attaches to your heel bones.
That doesn’t mean that plantar fasciitis doesn’t occur due to certain situational injuries—because, it does also form out of certain situational injuries.To provide an example, the condition can form if you spend a lot of time on your feet doing anything like standing, running and/or walking, especially if you’re not used to doing that particular activity regularly.
People with a more sedentary lifestyle may also become more prone to developing the condition than other people. Some people develop the condition when they switch their exercising surfaces, such as if they switched to almost always running on a road instead of the running track they previously used.
It can also develop in people who have been wearing shoes with poor cushioning and/or arch support. Some people develop the condition as a result of overuse or a sudden stretching of their sole. That usually happens to athletes who increase the distance and/or intensity of their running regime. It also develops in people with a tight Achilles tendon, the large tendon that’s located at the bottom of your calf muscles and above your heel. That can affect your ability to flex your ankle and might make you more prone to developing plantar fasciitis.
If you want to know how common plantar fasciitis is, it’s known to affect at least 1 in 10 people at some time in their lives. Most people between the ages of 40 to 60 years old end up developing the condition, though it can affect anyone at any age. Plantar fasciitis is actually more common in women than it is in men, but commonly affects athletes of any gender, too.
Okay, so if I have plantar fasciitis, what symptoms may I start experiencing? What plantar fasciitis treatment plan should I follow to help ease those symptoms?
You should know that the main symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain. You’ll end up feeling that pain anywhere nearby and on the underside of your heel. Though, there is one spot that’s often attributed as a main point of pain. That spot occurs about 4 centimeters from your heel, a spot that might be tender and/or painful to touch.
The pain usually manifests the most when you take your first steps in the morning. It also ‘hits hard’ after you take a long period of rest and stand back up again, placing weight onto your foot. You might be able to ease that pain with some gentle exercise, though keeping weight on your foot typically makes the pain worsen.
Even if you stretch, you might feel more pain originating from your foot. It can cause you to limp and, yes, some people may end up developing the condition in both feet.
Despite how harrowing the pain seems, there are various plantar fasciitis treatment options that your doctor may suggest for you to try.
Your doctor is often the best person to help you figure out possible plantar fasciitis treatment considerations before the pain becomes unbearable. Since the ligament tissues like the fascia take a while to heal on their own, a doctor can help you find plantar fasciitis treatment options that mainly focus on subsiding the pain during your healing process. You might even need a different combination of treatments for plantar fasciitis to help ease the pain and speed up healing.
The most common plantar fasciitis treatment is resting the affected foot. You pretty much can’t avoid this, since it keeps your weight from distributing onto your foot. So, you’re going to want to avoid doing things like running, excessive walking and even standing around. Also, avoid stretching your sole for any reason whatsoever, as it will place stress onto your foot. You can, however, undertake gentle walking and/or exercises to keep yourself active, despite the pain.
You’ll also have to change your footwear to treat plantar fasciitis. Your doctor may suggest that you wear shoes with cushioned heels and better arch support as a part of your plantar fasciitis treatment plan. Laced sports sneakers with great arch support are usually a suggested plantar fascitis treatment option. You’ll also have to stop wearing your old footwear or shoes that aren’t cushioned enough to support your heels.
And speaking of heels, you’ll also have to use shoe heel pads and arch supports to support your arches and cushion your heels. Wear these in your shoes at all times, since they help keep your heels elevated enough to subside the pain. Also, place these pads inside both shoes, instead of just one, to support both feet at the same time.
Okay, thanks for letting me know that! What about painkillers and other medication based plantar fasciitis treatments? Should I ask my doctor about that type of plantar fasciitis treatment?
Of course! Due to the pain, you’ll probably need some type of painkiller to treat plantar fasciitis and help subside most of the pain. In most cases, you won’t need anymore than painkillers like paracetamol to subside pain. Your doctor may give you an inflammatory medication to reduce the inflammation in your foot’s infected plantar fascia.
There’s also over-the-counter plantar fascitis treatment medications that provide some anti-inflammatory effects, such as ibuprofen. Topical medicals also work, especially when you gently massage it into your heel.