How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis and When You Should See Your Podiatrist
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that can affect anyone who spends long periods of time on their feet. The condition occurs when the plantar fascia, a ligament and band of tissue, in your foot becomes inflamed. Plantar fasciitis affects up to 50% of the population at some point in their lives. It is most common in people who spend a lot of time wearing high heels and/ or running frequently. The pain from plantar fasciitis can be excruciating and is usually worse when you first get up in the morning and change your shoes after being stationary for some time. You may also experience sharp shooting pains or heel spasms, which feel like knife stabbing into your heel as you walk and run. If left untreated, this condition can progress to become chronic, which makes it more difficult to treat as time goes by and can lead to other conditions such as osteoarthritis of the ankle joint.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis (or heel spasm) is a painful condition of the connective tissue between the heel and the toes. The pain usually occurs on the bottom of your foot, near the heel. It can be very painful and frustrating, especially if it occurs after only a short period of time from when you last injured your heel. Plantar fasciitis is believed to be caused by an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of connective tissue that supports your foot and runs from the heel to the toes. Pain from plantar fasciitis is typically a stabbing pain that worse when getting out of bed in the morning and then can ease off with walking. This can be very frustrating since you want to get out of the house but are afraid to put any weight on your foot. Plantar fasciitis can affect anyone who stands or walks on their feet for long periods of time, such as at work or in school. It is also common among people who wear high heels most of the time.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
There are a few factors that can increase your risk for developing plantar fasciitis. The first is if you have a history of a similar condition called calcaneal spurs. This is a condition that occurs in the heel bone, which causes the same symptoms as plantar fasciitis. If you have had calcaneal spurs in the past, you have an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis in the future. Additionally, you are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis if you are overweight or have been sedentary most of your life. If you are otherwise healthy but have been inactive for a long period, you are also at an increased risk of developing the condition. Having flat feet, excessive pronation, or high arches in your foot can also contribute to plantar fasciitis as can having diabetes or a debilitating foot injury.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain during walking and running, or when standing for long periods. In mild cases, you might only have stiffness and/ or bruising in your foot that lasts for a few days. If the plantar fascia is only mildly irritated, it is likely that you will be able to walk it off without any treatment. If the pain from plantar fasciitis is more severe, you may have a sharp, stabbing pain in your heel that can get better after a short period of rest, but then come back again. With severe plantar fasciitis, you may also have weakness in your foot that makes it difficult to walk normally. You may also have a swelling in your foot that is associated with redness and/ or warmth.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
The goal of treating plantar fasciitis is to help your fascia heal so it can regain its strength and stop hurting. Gradual stretching of your plantar fascia is one of the best ways to do this. Stretching your foot and Achilles tendon is one treatment for plantar fasciitis. Stretching the fascia reduces swelling, decreases inflammation and restores flexibility. What we recommend is to vist our podiatrist in Cardiff at our podiatry clinic at Fordham-Rees Podiatry, Louise Fordham can assess your feet and provide you with treatment options, which could include, a rehabilitation, orthotics and shockwave therapy.
Book an appointment with our podiatrist if you are unsure and suffering with any pain in your feet. The sooner you see our podiatrist the sooner you can start healing. It may take a little while for your fascia to get back to normal, so be patient and keep at it.