Recognizing Plantar Fasciitis

Do you get out of the bed in the morning and experience a burning, stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot? If you answered yes, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis.

One of the most common causes of heel pain, plantar fasciitis can affect individuals of all ages and activity levels. This is why it is important to understand if you are indeed being affected by this painful condition.

Understanding Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes, providing support to the arch of your foot when you walk. Since the plantar fascia absorbs a great deal of force during most activities, including walking and running, it is very prone to injury.

When there is inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is typically caused by small tears or over-stretching of the plantar fascia, plantar fasciitis will occur.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

There are a variety of causes of plantar fasciitis, including the following:

  • Excessive pronation
  • Spending long periods of time on your feet
  • Overuse of feet
  • Shoes that are worn or do not fit properly
  • Arthritis
  • High Arches
  • Flat feet
  • Obesity
  • Trauma to the foot

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is a sharp stabbing or burning pain in the heel or on the inside of the foot, typically occurring in the morning when first stretching or walking on the foot. The pain may diminish over time of rest, but it may return after long periods of standing, climbing, running, etc.

Treating Plantar Fasciitis

There are several things you can do to treat plantar fasciitis, including the following:

Rest. Give your feet a rest, avoiding walking or running on hard surfaces.

Ice. You can help to reduce pain and swelling by icing your foot for 10-15 minutes.

Take an anti-inflammatory. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can help to reduce pain and swelling, giving you much-needed relief.

If you have tried these treatments at home, but find you are still experiencing pain, it is best to visit your podiatrist for further evaluation and treatment options, which may include:

Performing exercises. It may be necessary for you to perform certain exercises to help loosen up your plantar fascia. Performing toe and calf stretches before getting out of bed is often recommended by podiatrists.

Custom orthotics. The use of custom insoles, which provide added support to your arch, may be recommended by your podiatrist, especially if you stand or run for long periods of time.

Cortisone injections. Your podiatrist may prescribe a shot of cortisone in your heel, which is effective in helping to reduce inflammation.

Splints. Nighttime splints can hold your foot up, keeping a slight stretch on the arch, helping to relieve inflammation and pain.

Treatment options and times will vary for every patient, depending on your particular situation. This is why it is important to follow your podiatrist’s instructions consistently.

For more information or help with any of your foot and ankle issues, contact the Foot and Ankle Specialists of Illinois today.