This is a very common problem for a lot of people and is very painful for those who suffer from it!
Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue which runs along the bottom surface of the foot, attaching at the bottom of the heel bone and extending to the forefoot. When the plantar fascia is excessively stretched, this can cause plantar fasciitis, which can also lead to heel pain, arch pain, and heel spurs.
Plantar Fasciitis often leads to heel pain, heel spurs, and/or arch pain. The excessive stretching of the plantar fascia that leads to the inflammation and discomfort can be caused by the following: Over-pronation (flat feet) which results in the arch collapsing upon weight bearing A foot with an unusually high arch A sudden increase in physical activity Excessive weight on the foot, usually attributed to obesity or pregnancy Improperly fitting footwear, over-pronation (flat feet) is the leading cause of plantar fasciitis.
Over-pronation occurs in the walking process, when a person's arch collapses upon weight bearing, causing the plantar fascia to be stretched away from the heel bone. With Plantar Fasciitis, the bottom of your foot usually hurts near the inside of the foot where the heel and arch meet. The pain is often acute either first thing in the morning or after a long rest, because while resting the plantar fascia contracts back to its original shape. As the day progresses and the plantar fascia continues to be stretched, the pain often subsides.
Treatment and Prevention
The key for the proper treatment of plantar fasciitis is determining what is causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. When the cause is over-pronation (flat feet), an orthotic with rearfoot posting and longitudinal arch support is an effective device to reduce the over-pronation and allow the condition to heal. If you have usually high arches, which can also lead to plantar fasciitis, cushion the heel, absorb shock and wear proper footwear that will accommodate and comfort the foot. Other common treatments include stretching exercises, plantar fasciitis night splints, wearing shoes that have a cushioned heel to absorb shock, and elevating the heel with the use of a heel
cradle or heel cup. Heel cradles and heel cups provide extra comfort, cushion the heel, and reduce the amount of shock and shear forces placed during everyday activities. Every time your foot strikes the ground, the plantar fascia is stretched. You can reduce the strain and stress on the plantar fascia by following these simple instructions: Avoid running on hard or uneven ground, lose any excess weight, and wear shoes and orthotics that support your arch to prevent over-stretching of the plantar fascia.
The most common complaint is pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel. The
heel pain may be dull or sharp. The bottom of the foot may also ache or
The pain is usually worse:
• In the morning when you take your first steps
• After standing or sitting for a while
• When climbing stairs
• After intense activity.The pain may develop slowly over time, or suddenly after intense activity.
Signs and tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This may show:
• Tenderness on the bottom of your foot
• Flat feet or high arches
• Mild foot swelling or redness
• Stiffness or tightness of the arch in the bottom of your foot.
X-rays may be taken to rule out any other problems.
Your health care provider will usually first recommend:
(Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to reduce pain and inflammation
• Heel and foot stretching exercises
• Night splints to wear while sleeping to stretch the foot
• Resting as much as possible for at least a week
• Wearing shoes with good support and cushions
Other steps to relieve pain
• Apply ice to the painful area. Do this at least twice a day for 10 - 15 minutes, more often in the first couple of days.
• Try wearing a heel cup, felt pads in the heel area, or shoe inserts.
• Use night splints to stretch the injured fascia and allow it to heal.
If these treatments do not work, your health care provider may recommend:
• Wearing a boot cast, which looks like a ski boot, for 3-6 weeks. It can be
removed for bathing.
• Custom-made shoe inserts (orthotics)
• Steroid shots or injections into the heel
Sometimes, foot surgery is needed.
Nonsurgical treatments almost always improve the pain. Treatment can last from several months to 2 years before symptoms get better. Most patients feel better in 9 months. Some people need surgery to relieve the pain.
Pain may continue despite treatment. Some people may need surgery. Surgery has its own risks. Talk to your doctor about the risks of surgery.
Contact your health care provider if you have symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
Making sure your ankle, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles are flexible can help prevent plantar fasciitis.
If problem persists, consult your foot doctor.