What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a chronic foot pain condition that develops when the fibrous band of tissue under our feet—our plantar fascia—becomes irritated and inflamed. There is some belief that it may actually be a degenerative condition, which makes its treatment and management more complex. Despite its name containing “itis,” which usually implies inflammation, this condition is characterized by the absence of inflammatory cells.
Pain typically starts at the heel and can radiate through the sole of the foot. It is the most common source of heel pain in the US, and it can be tricky to treat.
The good news is with the right steps, it can be treated! Read on to discover how to diagnose plantar fasciitis, get plantar fasciitis pain relief, and how to pick shoes for plantar fasciitis.
Most Common Causes & Risk Factors for Developing Plantar Fasciitis
- Natural Foot Structure
- Too Much or Little Physical Activity
- Occupation or Hobbies
- Shoe Type
- Body Weight
Symptoms & Diagnosis
As with any medical condition, it is always best to make an appointment with your doctor to get a formal assessment and diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.
That said, there are a few common symptoms people experience when suffering from plantar fasciitis that might help you know when it’s time to visit the doctor.
- A stabbing or aching pain starting at the base of the heel or in the arch
- Increased pain and tightness when waking up in the morning
- Pain that can subside during activity but returns afterward
Your doctor will give you a detailed treatment plan based on your unique case of plantar fasciitis.
That said, there are a few common at-home treatments that can help alleviate pain and inflammation for people with plantar fasciitis.
- Relative Rest: Your doctor will give you a detailed treatment plan based on your unique case of plantar fasciitis. That said, there are a few common at-home treatments that can help alleviate pain and inflammation for people with plantar fasciitis.
- Ice: Applying ice can help reduce pain and inflammation, helping to promote healing. You can ice the affected area 2–3x per day to help manage and improve symptoms.
- Massaging Feet on Ball: Rolling out your arches on a tennis or lacrosse ball can help calm and lengthen the plantar fascia tissue, helping to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Stretching Exercises: Stretching the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles and tendons can help alleviate stress and pain. See a few stretches and exercises below.
- Night Splints: There are a variety of over-the-counter night splints and specialized socks that help keep your foot in dorsiflexion (foot flexed toward the shin) overnight. This allows the plantar fascia to stay in a lengthened, stretched state to help reduce pain and stiffness.
- Supportive Footwear: If you have plantar fasciitis or heel pain, it’s crucial to invest in a quality pair of supportive shoes. Walking shoes with plenty of arch support and cushion can help reduce stress on the plantar fascia and help prevent the condition from returning.
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