Everything You Need to Know About Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is the most common diagnosis for those experiencing heel pain, with almost 2 million people seeking treatment for this condition each year according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs through the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. A stabbing pain is usually the most defining symptom for those that have plantar fasciitis.
What are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
Those who experience plantar fasciitis complain of a stabbing pain in the bottom of their foot near the heel. Typically, the pain is most noticeable when the first steps are taken when you first wake up.
- Pain on the bottom of the foot, specifically near the heel
- Pain in your first steps of the day, after long rest periods or long-standing periods
- Significant pain after spending a long time on your feet
What is the Cause Behind Plantar Fasciitis?
At the bottom of the foot runs a long, thin ligament called the plantar fascia. It is meant to absorb the high stress and strains that are placed on the feet. However, if there is too much pressure, tissues can be torn. Irritation and inflammation are the responses to the repeated stretching and tearing of the facia which then causes heel pain.
Who is at Higher Risk for Plantar Fasciitis?
- Those with flat feet or high arches
- People who have tight Achilles tendons
- Those who wear high-heeled shoes often
- Anyone who spends multiple hours on their feet in a day
- Typically, 40 to 60-year-olds
Ways to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
Even though there are no clinically proven ways to cure plantar fasciitis, there are a plethora of ways to curb your discomfort.
- Pain Relievers: to relieve the inflammation and pain associated with plantar fasciitis, pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can be taken
- Conservative Treatment: most people with plantar fasciitis typically recover with conservative methods such as icing the area, stretching and modifying any activities that cause discomfort
- Physical Therapy: By working with a Physical Therapist, you can stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles Tendon. Another technique that a Physical Therapist might use to ease plantar fasciitis pain is athletic taping. This gives support to the bottom of the foot and has been proven very effective.
- Night Splints: a night splint keeps the ankle in a neutral position while you are sleeping which promotes stretching the lower leg muscles and plantar fascia
- Injections: If conservative methods are unsuccessful, a doctor can inject anti-inflammatory agents into the tender area. This doesn’t heal your heel, but it does mask the pain. Platelet-rich plasma can also be injected utilizing your own blood. This injection promotes tissue healing to the afflicted area.