Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes heel and arch pain through inflammation on the bottom of the foot. The part thatâs inflamed (swollen) is actually the plantar fascia, which is the
connective tissue or ligament that stretches from the base of the toes, across the arch of the foot, and inserts into the heel bone. This painful condition can interfere with your daily activity and
severely decrease your quality of life.
There are multiple potential causes and contributing factors to plantar fasciitis heel pain. The structure of a personâs foot and the way that they walk or run usually play a significant role in
the development of plantar fasciitis. Those with an arch that is lower or higher than the average person are more likely to be afflicted. Overexertion and/or participating in activities that a person
is not accustomed to also place a person at risk. This can include a heavy workout, a job change, or even an extended shopping trip. Additionally, inappropriate shoes are also often a factor.
Exercising in shoes that are worn out or donât have enough support and/or wearing inexpensive, flimsy or flat-soled dress or casual shoes are common culprits. In warm climates, such as here in
Southern California, people who wear flip-flop sandals or even go barefoot throughout the year increase their chances of developing heel pain. Many athletes and weekend warriors develop heel or arch
pain from over-exertion during running or other sports. People who work at jobs that involve long periods of standing, such as grocery checkers, cashiers, warehouse workers, postal workers, and
teachers are more susceptible as well. Adults of all ages can develop plantar fasciitis. Heel pain in children is usually caused by a different type of condition.
Patients experience intense sharp pain with the first few steps in the morning or following long periods of having no weight on the foot. The pain can also be aggravated by prolonged standing or
sitting. The pain is usually experienced on the plantar surface of the foot at the anterior aspect of the heel where the plantar fascia ligament inserts into the calcaneus. It may radiate proximally
in severe cases. Some patients may limp or prefer to walk on their toes. Alternative causes of heel pain include fat pad atrophy, plantar warts and foreign body.
Diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is based on a medical history, the nature of symptoms, and the presence of localised tenderness in the heel. X-rays may be recommended to rule out other causes for the
symptoms, such as bone fracture and to check for evidence of heel spurs. Blood tests may also be recommended.
Non Surgical Treatment
The following self-help treatments have been found to be most effective. Rest your foot. Reduce the amount of weight-bearing activities you participate in. Get off of your feet and elevate them. This
will allow healing to begin. Apply ice to your foot. Applications of ice packs that provide a comfortable cooling to the heel and arch (not a freezing cold) will help reduce pain, swelling, and
inflammation. Apply the ice to the heel and arch (not the toes). Make sure it is comfortable, and leave on your foot for about 20 minutes, 3 times a day. If you have any medical problems such as
diabetes, poor circulation, etc., discuss the use of ice with your doctor before applying the ice. ActiveWrap allows you to apply comfortable cold therapy to your foot without messy ice cubes. Use
while on the "go." Do not walk with bare feet. Always protect your heels, arches, and plantar fascia with good supportive shoes. Orthaheel Orthotic Flip Flops For Men and Women are designed for
walking comfort with built in orthotic footbeds that help reduce foot pain from plantar fasciitis. Use in the house or on the beach. Stretch the Plantar Fascia while sleeping. Plantar Fasciitis and
Heel Spur pain is usually worse with the first steps in the morning. This is due to the Plantar Fascia tightening up, or contracting while we sleep. To prevent these pain producing contractures of
the plantar fascia, the foot must be held in its normal or neutral position while we sleep. This optimal position of the foot is maintained with our comfortable and supportive Night Splint. When foot
contractures are prevented during sleep, the "first step pains" Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs will gradually subside. Stretch the Plantar Fascia during the day. Even though the Plantar Fascia is a
thick tissue band with very little "give" to it, with the proper care (a Night Splint and the following exercises) it can be stretched a small amount. By stretching the Plantar Fascia even a bit, its
abnormal pull on the heel is reduced. This will help to reduce pain and inflammation in the heel and arch. Two of the most effective exercises recommended are. Before stepping down, especially after
sleeping or resting, stretch the arch of the foot by stretching your legs out in front of you (do not bend the knee). Place a towel around the ball of the foot. Slowly pull on the ends of the towel,
pulling the toes and ball of the foot back as far as is comfortable. Hold the foot in this position for ten seconds. Repeat at least ten times. You should feel a pull on the bottom of the foot,
especially in the arch. This stretches the plantar fascia, and reduces its pull on the heel. Stand about 2 to 3 feet from a wall. Lean forward with your hands against the wall. With the painful foot
behind, place the other foot forward. Press against the wall, shifting weight over the front foot, while straightening the back leg. Keep the heel of the back foot on the floor and feel the stretch
in the heel, Achilles tendon, and calf. Hold this position for ten seconds. Repeat at least ten times, and try to do this three times a day. When these things are achieved, the inflammation and pain
of Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs will gradually subside. If you are unsure of the nature of your foot problem, if your pain is intense and does not subside, if you are a diabetic or have other
medical problems, if your pain is due to an injury, if an open sore is present, if a mass can be felt, or if you think that you may have an infection, we suggest that before beginning any of the
above treatments you consult with your doctor.
Although most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to non-surgical treatment, a small percentage of patients may require surgery. If, after several months of non-surgical treatment, you continue
to have heel pain, surgery will be considered. Your foot and ankle surgeon will discuss the surgical options with you and determine which approach would be most beneficial for you. No matter what
kind of treatment you undergo for plantar fasciitis, the underlying causes that led to this condition may remain. Therefore, you will need to continue with preventive measures. Wearing supportive
shoes, stretching, and using custom orthotic devices are the mainstay of long-term treatment for plantar fasciitis.