Plantar Fasciitis – by Definition
Do you experience intense heel pain when you take your first step in the morning? –
Do you experience Heel pain and pain under the arch of the foot after standing for long periods , while walking or running
If you experience any of these or all of them , chances are high that you suffering from Plantar Fasciitis and intense heel pain in the morning is one of the conditions of this problem..
It needs to be noted that Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel and arch pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes.
What does the Plantar Fascia do
The Plantar Fascia supports the arch of your foot. If you strain it through any one of the methods outlined above or
– From swollen ankles from illness or prolonged sitting
– Getting overweight and carrying the load on your feet
Your plantar fascia, gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed).
It is then that your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk or more often get up in the morning and place your feet on the floor for the first time that day.
Plantar Fasciitis is common in middle-aged people. It also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes or soldiers. It can happen in one foot or both feet.
What are the causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling. This is more likely to happen if:
- Your increasing age means that your plantar fasciia is less flexible and is devoid of stretching and this will create pain in other words you have tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles.
- As stated being overweight adds extra pressure on the feet especially on those that are standing for long periods throughout the day/night
- Wearing incorrect or ill fitting footwear
- Sudden inclusion of exercises in your daily routine
- You have high arches or flat feet.
- People that are suffering from diabetes or some forms of arthritis
- Your feet roll inward too much when you walk
- Previous injuries to the foot where damage is done to the Achiles, calf muscles or the tendons making up the ankle.
- Calcium Deposits – abnormal calcium deposits can form on the base of the foot/heel resulting in foot pain and what are termed as Heel Spurs which throw the alignment of the Plantars Fascia out, this in turn creates problems through irritation of the Fascia itself
What are the symptoms
Most people with plantar fasciitis have pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed or sit for a long time. You may have less stiffness and pain after you take a few steps. But your foot may hurt more as the day goes on. It may hurt the most when you climb stairs or after you standing for long periods of time.
Diagnosing plantar fasciitis
Your medical doctor should check your feet and watch you stand and walk. He or she will also ask questions about:
- Your past health, including what illnesses or injuries you have had.
- Your symptoms, where the pain is and what time of day your foot hurts most.
- How active you are and what types of physical activity do you do.
- What type of shoes do you wear
- Have you gained weight recently
- Are you exercising and what type
Your doctor may take an X-ray of your foot if he or she suspects a problem with the bones of your foot, such as a stress fracture. Or he or she may refer you to a Podiatrist for assessment if they themselves are not prepared to treat the problem or are not equipped to do so.
From that point the Podiatrist will make the same type of assessment and ask the same type of questions, this along with making assessment through either foot manipulation, checking your shoes for wear ( for this reason you should take your running, walking, standing shoes with you). He or she may then through the use of foam wedges build your foot up to see if it is the arch, the shoes, the heel etc that are creating the problem and any imbalance.
In turn they may simply require you to have an Xray or MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) and this will allow them to view the current damage, or check for signs of tears in the Fascia, Heel Spurs or abnormal growth.
From these types of assessment you and they will start to understand exactly where the problems are and how the plantar fasciitis is effecting your life and hopefully at that time start looking for a treatment or cure for the plantar fasciitis.
Truth about Plantar Fasciitis
Plantars Fasciitis is curable assuming you follow the steps that are laid out for you , however if you are medically challenged, weight challenged then you will either have to learn to live with the problem or do something about the actual cause. In the majority of cases learning to avoid the dumb causes of plantars is the fastest way to recovery.
Living with Plantars
I live with Plantars Fasciitis – and I am losing weight slowly however my daily regime must be followed daily to allow me to function without pain. I am medically challenged so it adds to the situation however that is also being brought to heel – no pun intended.
In the beginning daily solutions were or are:
- Get up and stretch before walking anywhere – sitting on the side of the bed – stretching the feet – getting them working – warming them up to the task ahead.
- Have a shower etc :
- Get to the nearest step and stretch the achilles, Calf muscles and the ankle (every day – make it a habit)
- Give your feet a rest. Cut back on activities that make your foot hurt. Try not to walk or run on hard surfaces.
- Get some better shoes – something that has some strength to it and very little flexibility especially in running or walking shoes , bottom line pay the price for them or you will forever pay the price in pain.
- Get some inner soles for the shoes that allow for comfort without losing stability – I do not wear orthotics – I have two sets that were made for me and they are useless, a waste of money – In My case walking on something harder inside my shoes crippled me it did not reshape my foot , I do not have fallen arches .
- I use a slightly expensive inner sole designed for plantars similar to the Samurai Insoles sold on our website. It has sufficient support and allows me to remain active for up to 3 to 4 hrs per day (on my feet) coaching kids.
Ok Back to the days treatment for plantar fasciitis:
End of each day with or without pain I always complete the following regime:
Ice the sole of the foot using either a plastic drink bottle filled with frozen tap water (yes Ice) roll the bottle along my foot in an attempt to calm down the plantars fascia, before starting my exercise routine.
Redo my stretches – (video attached on the site shows more stretches for you) normally I do the same as the morning stretches but slightly longer periods –
Spiky Ball Treatment: Roll the spiky ball under the sole of the foot applying whatever level of pressure you can bear to realign the tendons in the foot (do both feet)
Foot Massager – I find that using a rubber or wooden roller works well for me again applying enough pressure not to cause pain or excessive pain.
ICE again – after pushing the tendons and plantar fascia it pays to ice again for 10 minutes
Apply heat rub – or simply a nice foot cream that soothes the feet –
Not all treatments work for all people
Now it needs to be stated that : No single treatment system works best for everyone with chronic plantar fasciitis. But there are many things you can try to help your feet get better:
In fact there are a range of treatment profiles that medical staff may provide and you may well have to wear any of the following
- Compression Stocking to prevent swelling of the calves and ankles
- Compression socks to prevent ankle swelling
- Plantar Fasciitis Sleeves
- Braces for Plantar Fascittis
- Stretching Aids may need to be used to assist or increase your stretching regime.
- Arch Supports or Heel protectors or Shoe inserts for the plantar fasciitis
- Or try heel cups (use them in both shoes) , even if only one foot hurts. these reduce the pressure or tension on the achilles and therefore takes the pressure off the plantars fascia.
- There are treatments that allow for the use of KT tape for plantars fasciitis or simply taping with non stretch tapes to prevent oversue of the injured feet or foot.
- You may need an injection (such as a steroid) in your heel, to assist in the healing process
- If these treatments do not help, your doctor may recommend plantar fasciitis night splints that you wear at night,
You probably will not need surgery. Doctors only suggest it for people who still have pain after trying other treatments for 6 to 12 months. Some may give you steroid injections in the heel to assist the healing process however I have yet to see any benefit from mine.
How long will it take for the pain to go away?
Plantar fasciitis most often occurs because of injuries or illness that have happened over time. With treatment, you will have less pain within a few weeks. But it may take time for the pain to go away completely. It may take a few months to a year.
Stay with your treatment. If you don’t, you may have constant pain when you stand or walk. The sooner you start treatment, the sooner your feet will stop hurting.