Plantar fasciitis is a condition that happens when the connective tissue between your heel bone and your toes becomes inflamed. This tissue works like a rubber band and helps to cushion the arch of your foot. Over time, this band can rip or tear, which is what causes it to become inflamed. See below for more information about plantar fasciitis such as symptoms, the causes and ways to help treat it.
Signs and Symptoms
Plantar fasciitis can have several distinctive symptoms, including:
- Stabbing pain. Plantar fasciitis will feel like a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel of your foot.
- Pain after resting. You may not feel the pain during the day or when moving, but rather after you have sat without moving for too long, such as in the morning after taking your first steps.
- Affects one or both feet. Some people may experience pain in only one foot, although it can occur in both feet.
- Pain after physical activity. Your heel may feel stiff after doing some type of physical activity such as exercising or running.
Causes and Risk Factors
The cause of plantar fasciitis is not the same for everyone. There are a number of contributing risk factors such as:
- Poorly fitting shoes
- High arches
- Poor foot position
- Being on feet all day
The type of treatment depends on the severity of your plantar fasciitis and how much pain you are experiencing. You may need physical therapy, medication or even surgery. Your podiatrist will need to diagnose you first, then the treatment option that is right for you will be determined. Treatments include:
- Physical therapy. With physical therapy, you may do stretches to help stretch this connective band in order to loosen this area and prevent stiffness. Some exercises may include using a tennis ball and rolling it with the ball, arch and heel of your foot. You may also stretch your calf by placing the toe of your foot on the wall and pressing it into the wall to give your calf and arch a good stretch.
- Medication. Oral medication may be given to help alleviate pain. Medication may also be injected such as a steroid injection into the band to help with the pain and inflammation.
- Surgery. If surgery is needed, it's done by making an incision in the thickest part of the skin at the top of the heel to help release the tension in the band. This can be done through an endoscope with minimal incision and minimal recovery.
Plantar fasciitis isn’t fun, but with treatment, you can alleviate your symptoms and feel more comfortable. Remember the following:
- See your podiatrist after you begin feeling symptoms of plantar fasciitis to set up a treatment path. Allowing the pain to continue can cause other issues such as pain in your hip or back if you are walking differently in order to alleviate pain in your feet.
- Cease any physical activity that is causing the pain in order to allow your feet to heal.
- Stretching often can help alleviate pain (and prevent it). Stretching is good for the entire body, so do calf and foot stretches daily.
- Wear comfortable fitting shoes with a proper arch, that aren't too tight, that have a low heel and that fit you well. Choosing the right shoe can prevent issues with your feet.