Plantar fasciitis is a common complaint among athletes and anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet. If you are overweight or a woman you have a greater chance of developing plantar fasciitis. The first step to relief is to understand this condition and know your treatment options. If you feel pain in your heel or foot when you first stand up after sitting for a long period, or you feel pain first thing in the morning which gets better after you move around, you may have plantar fasciitis.
Why Does It Hurt?
The plantar fascia is a long fibrous tissue located in the sole of your foot and it extends from the heel to your toes. This tissue connects the heel bone to the toes and helps you stand, walk, and stay balanced. This tissue can become inflamed and irritated causing pain, swelling, and tenderness.
Who is at Risk?
While anyone can develop this condition and people who carry more weight are at greater risk. More women than men develop this condition as well as people who have very tight calf muscles. Athletes, especially runners, are also at greater risk to develop plantar fasciitis. If you have very flat feet or very high arches you may also be at greater risk to develop the condition. If your job requires you to stand or walk on very hard surfaces for long periods of time, this also puts you at a greater risk.
Most people complain of heel pain upon rising after sitting for long periods of time. Pain may also be more severe right after getting out of bed, but gets better after you move around a bit. You may also feel pain after exercise. The pain is described as feeling like you've stepped on a large stone and is centered in the heel of the foot. As the condition worsens the pain becomes more severe and pronounced.
The first treatment option is rest and anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil, Motrin, or Alleve. Ice may also give you some relief and reduce swelling. Your doctor may prescribe stretching exercises to help stretch your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. Shoes with shock absorbing insoles or rubber heel caps may also be recommended by your doctor.
Most cases of plantar fasciitis respond well to treatment within a few months. If not your doctor may elect to inject steroidal anti-inflammatory shots into your heel. Very rarely does the condition require surgery. In several cases though the surgeon will release the plantar fascia from the heel bone to give you relief.
Plantar fasciitis is a common complaint, but it is usually not serious. With proper treatment and care you can return to your normal activities in a few months. If you follow your doctor's recommendations you can also avoid any further infection and damage to your foot.