Plantar Fasciitis

What is it?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel bone to the toes. This tissue helps to form the foot’s arch.

With overuse such as running or standing for long periods on hard surfaces, or from wearing shoes with little support, tiny tears can develop in the plantar fascia. These can cause inflammation and heel pain.

Symtoms

  • Sharp, burning or throbbing heel pain
  • Pain is worst when arising from bed in the morning because the plantar fascia has contracted during the night
  • The pain eases during the day
  • Pain returns after resting or sitting for a period

Treatment

Once plantar fasciitis has been identified as the cause of your heel pain, non-invasive treatments include resting and icing the area, along with anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation. A steroid injection can also relieve inflammation and pain.

Wearing a brace to keep the plantar fascia stretched at night can be very effective.

Physical therapy will help. Strengthening and stretching exercises and massage will restore the plantar fascia’s flexibility.

There are more intense treatments available for persistent pain, and surgery may be recommended in severe cases.

Prevention

Some lifestyle changes can help a return of plantar fasciitis:

  • Lose excess pounds if you are overweight.
  • Choose sturdy shoes with good support.
  • Avoid wearing high heels.
  • Low-impact exercises such as biking and swimming are better for your heels than running.
  • Stretch your calves regularly during the day and after a workout.
  • Sleep with your bedsheet untucked at the bottom so your feet and legs can stretch out at night.