Is plantar fasciitis giving you uncomfortable heel pain? What can you do to fix it?
What is plantar fasciities?
Plantar fasciities is the most common heel pain. About 10-15 cases of all foot pain and problems involve plantar fasciities (pronounced "Plan-ter-fash-ee-eye-tus"). The plantar fascia is the flat body of tissue or membrane that connects your heel bone to your toes. It is just in front of the heel bone. It's the major support tissue for the arch of your foot. So it acts like shock absorber.
If you have strained your plantar fascia it might become inflamed, weak and swollen. This makes walking painful for your heel and also the base of your feet.
Who gets it?
It's a common problem especially for people who are on their feet a lot, like soldiers, athletes, runners, police officers, traffic wardens and others. However, even people who don't stand up a lot, office workers for example, can suffer from plantar fasciities, often by being overweight or by wearing shoes that do not provide enough support.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciities?
The pain usually starts at the front of the heel pad, and it may feel worse at the end of the day when you've been on your feet or at the very beginning when you have just gotten out of bed as your muscles and tissues are stiff. If you are experiencing foot pain at night, you might have tarsal tunnel syndrome rather than plantar fasciities.
How do I know for sure that I have it?
Usually you do not require an X ray (unless the doctor suspects you have a foot fracture or other condition). Your doctor will conduct a clinical examination : seeing where you are feeling the pain, and will ask you questions about your lifestyle and past health and history. They might ask about your symptoms, where exactly on your heel it hurts, at what time of day or during what activity it feels worse or better. What shoes you normally wear and what physical activity you do. They may also ask if you have had a recent accident or illness of any sort.
What are the best treatments for plantar fasciities?
There is no single treatment for plantar fasciities that has been tested as being the best of the best. It's usually a combination of treatments who see what works best for you. Here are the best things you can do to try and solve your heel pain:
- Put ice on your heel
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever and anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or aspirinf
- Take rest. If you notice your heel feels worse during a particular activity such as walking up the stairs, try to cut back on doing it as much.
- Try not to walk or run on hard surfaces
- Try not to walk barefoot
- Physiotherapy can help with massage and ice/heat treatment
- Look at your shoes: do certain shoes make your heel hurt worse than others? Choose shoes that give you adequate support on your heel and arch. Avoid flat shoes. Flip flops, ballet pumps, sneakers and many fashion shoes do not provide decent enough support.
- Try out heel supports : these are cork, rubber of felt wedges which raise your heel by about 1 centimeter. There are many options on line: search for heel supports, heel pads, heel lifts or heel cups. Click here for Amazon's wide selection of heel inserts
- If the pain persists, go back to your doctor who might offer a cortisone injection for the most painful area
- Surgery is an option in long term cases
How long will it take for my plantar fasciities to be cured?
If you take the appropriate combination of treatments, much of the pain should go away in a few weeks. However it might take months, even a year for the pain to disappear completely. Be patient and persist with the treatments.