Have you ever felt a stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot while walking? This may be a sign that you have a condition called plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is caused by a ligament that runs from your heel to your toes called the plantar fascia.
The role of the plantar fascia
The plantar fascia provides support for the arch of your foot. When you have an increase in your activity or poor arch support, this can cause problems. The repetitive tearing and stretching of the ligament during activity can cause small tears or inflammation known as plantar fasciitis.
While this condition can be quite painful (especially in the morning and start of activities), it is highly treatable. We’re going to look at the causes and symptoms of plantar fasciitis as well as the steps you can take to heal it.
One common misconception people often have is that the pain they are feeling in the heel is actually a heel spur. While this may be true, it’s more often plantar fasciitis. You will often feel pain:
- In your heel and arch
- When you straighten your toes
- In the morning and after long periods of rest
- After exercise (not during it)
Am I at risk?
There are several factors that can lead to plantar fasciitis. It is often an overuse injury from sports, but there are several other reasons you may develop this condition. The top risk factors are:
- Exercise (often caused by sports that require repetitive jumping and running)
- Inadequate foot support
- Obesity (extra weight can take a toll on your feet)
- Prolonged amounts of standing or walking
- Arch issues (if you have high arches or your feet over-pronate as you walk/run)
Remedies for healthy (and happy) feet
While plantar fasciitis can be painful, the preventative measures are quite simple. To avoid developing plantar fasciitis, we suggest:
- Physical therapy – Your physical therapist will work on ways to strengthen and stretch the surrounding muscles.
- Better shoes – If you’re spending a prolonged amount of time on your feet, supportive shoes are key. We suggest going to your local shoe store and to get fitted for shoes. Keep in mind, old shoes lose their support after a while. If you’ve been wearing the same tennis shoes for years, it’s time for a new pair.
- Orthotics – If new shoes aren’t quite doing the trick, it may be time to invest in a pair of orthotics for extra support. These can be bought at your local drug store or custom-made.
- NSAIDs – Pills like ibuprofen and Advil can be an effective supplement to the above treatment options. They’ll help manage inflammation and pain. Want to know more about taking NSAIDs responsibly? Click here to read our article on taking NSAIDs responsibly.
- Ice – We recommend freezing a plastic water bottle and rolling your foot over for an ice massage.
- Keep a healthy weight – This will alleviate some of the pressure on your feet. Learn more about how we can help you lose weight.
At Advanced Wellness, our mission is to help you recover from pain and injury so you can get back to the life you love. Our physical therapy team can help you become stronger and healthier than before.