Have you ever woken up, gotten out of bed and felt a huge stabbing pain in your heel? The pain can be excruciating. You may even want to sit down. Although continuing to walk and stretch the heel can reduce the severity of the pain, it will most likely reoccur later in the day - often after standing for a long time or strenuous activities. This is Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain in adults, but can be seen in youth who are extremely active. It is caused by a strain on the plantar fascia. This is the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes and acts like a shock-absorber for the arch of the foot.
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Plantar Fasciitis Risk Factors:
• Sudden Weight Gain or Obesity
• Arch Problems (high arches or flat feet)
• Tight Achilles tendon or Calve muscles
• Excessive Pronation (abnormal inward twisting or rolling of the foot)
• Run, Walk or Stand for long periods of time
• Wearing shoes that are worn, do not fit or have poor cushioning
• Middle Age (often occurs between ages 40 to 60)
Most cases of plantar fasciitis will clear up in just a few months and with conservative treatment methods.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment:
• Rest: Reduce activities that trigger pain, like running on hard surfaces or placing continuous pressure on the heel.
• Pain Relievers/Anti-Inflammatories: NSAIDs, Cortisone Injections, Ice treatments
• Stretch: Start your day with a good stretch of your calf, foot and toes
• Arch Supports and Orthotics: Providing better support to the heel and foot
• New Shoes: Shoes with well cushioned insoles can help relieve pain and discomfort
• Night Splints: Allows passive stretching to the calf and plantar fascia while sleeping
Goals of Treatment:
• Relieve inflammation and pain in the heel
• Allow small tears in the plantar fascia ligament to heal
• Improve your strength and flexibility
• Correct foot problems like arches and pronation
• Allow you to go back to your normal activities.
With any medical injury, you should consult a physician. However, WebMD recommends you call your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms:
• Heel pain is accompanied by fever, numbness or tingling, or redness or warmth in the heel
• Pain that continues without putting weight on the heel
• Pain when you put weight on a heel injury
• Pain that doesn't get better after a week of home treatment