Plantar fasciitis is the most commonly occurring heel pain seen in runners, obese people and pregnant women. The thick band of tissues in the bottom of your feet get inflamed, causing pain. The heel pain is usually felt on the inside of the heel. The pain is also felt along the arch of the feet and along the border of the heel. You feel a stabbing pain, especially, in the morning as the plantar fascia tightens up. The pain reduces as the tissues stretch, but it may worsen if you stand, walk or run. This condition is seen in athletes, dancers and jumpers.
In plantar fasciitis treatment, walking may cause overstretching of your leg. When you walk, walk gently without straining your heels. Another thing to remember is to avoid walking on hard surfaces and always opt for proper well cushioned shoes. Old and worn out shoes must be avoided which can cause discomfort while walking. There are heel pads and cushions available which help provide support to the heels and feet. There are painkillers and other anti-inflammatory drugs that relieve the throbbing pain. In addition, there are certain plantar fasciitis exercises like stretching exercises. However, these exercises must be performed in supervision of a physiotherapist.
The repetitive stress of certain conditions or activities commonly leads to plantar fasciitis. Repetitive pressure on the feet from jobs or activities that require prolonged walking or standing on hard on irregular surfaces - or running and exercise - can also lead to wear and tear on the plantar fascia. Aggravating factors, such as being overweight or having poorly cushioned shoes can also add to the cause of plantar fasciitis. The natural aging process (whoopee for me) may also cause tissue in the heels to weaken over time and/or promote wear and tear.
Pain can sometimes cause a lot more than just discomfort. It can often significantly impact daily activities since any weight placed on the affected area can deliver serious pain which can prevent you from doing daily activities and exercise. Plantar fasciitis causes an aching pain that can be localized in the heel, but also radiate throughout the foot. In most cases, pain is most noticeable and serious in the morning when getting out of bed, or after standing up after prolonged sitting. This is because pain in the inflamed area subsides after the plantar fascia relaxes.
The fit of a shoe is important. Wearing small shoes can aggravate plantar fasciitis. When shopping for shoes or trying on shoes that have been bought and delivered on the internet, patients should do so in the afternoon or evening. This is because as the day progresses, feet swell and become slightly bigger than in the morning. Also, it is common for one foot to be slightly larger than the other. If this is the case, patients should check the fit based on how the larger foot feels. Shoes are better slightly too large (on the smaller foot) than vice versa.
During sleep, feet normally point downward, which allows the plantar fascia to contract. Night splints are used to keep the ankle at 90 degrees during sleep instead of allowing the foot to rest in flexion. Abnormal foot structure increases the chance one will develop plantar fasciitis. People with high arches have greater gravitational force across the plantar fascia while feet with low arches roll inward more during with walking putting tension on plantar fasciitis. Night splints can prevent contracture of the calf muscles, control abnormal pronation or the tendency of foot to roll inward, and maintain the anatomical length of the plantar fascia without stretching.
As a large amount of time is spent in bed during sleeping hours, it is important to ensure that the sheets at the foot of the bed do not constrict the foot, leading to plantar flexion in which the foot is bent straight out with the toes pointing. This constricts and thereby shortens the gastroc complex, worsening the condition. A heating pad placed under the muscles of the calf for a few minutes prior to rising may help loosen tension, increase circulation in the lower leg and reduce pain. Also during sleep, a night splint may be used in order to hold the ankle joint in a neutral position.
In general, plantar fasciitis is a self-limiting condition. Unfortunately, the time until resolution is often six to 18 months, which can lead to frustration for patients and physicians. Rest was cited by 25 percent of patients with plantar fasciitis in one study as the treatment that worked best. 3 Athletes, active adults and persons whose occupations require lots of walking may not be compliant if instructed to stop all activity. Many sports medicine physicians have found that outlining a plan of “relative rest” that substitutes alternative forms of activity for activities that aggravate the symptoms will increase the chance of compliance with the treatment plan. 4
It is strongly suggested that the person struggling with plantar fasciitis need to take appropriate rest till the pain sensation subside and correct medical treatment can be provided. While in the first period, the pain due to the condition could be really distressing and therefore, though the rest might be a challenge, it becomes essential. Tape might even be put on the area to give it appropriate support. Certain prescription drugs and foot rests can be found in the marketplace allowing the plantar fascia muscle tissues to stretch out. These may be used within hours in order to decrease painful sensation.
Supporting the arch with a custom or over-the-counter orthotic is another strategy that can protect the arch while it heals. It’s unclear whether there is a significant difference between custom orthotics or a rigid over-the-counter orthotic like SuperFeet Green or Powerstep insoles when it comes to treating plantar fasciitis.7 While they may not be tailored for your foot, over-the-counter insoles are not nearly as expensive and are available immediately—you’ll have to wait at least a few weeks for a pair of custom orthotics. Avoid soft gel arch supports, as they’ll likely do nothing to help your injury.