The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue running from your heel bone down the length of both legs. It connects the bones of your feet together and helps to keep them stable during walking or standing up straight. When it becomes inflamed, however, it causes pain when you walk or stand up straight. It may also cause other problems such as swelling, numbness or tingling in your toes and heels.
There are many treatments available for plantar fasciitis. Some involve surgery while others use non-invasive techniques. The most common treatment involves wearing special shoes with raised heels that provide extra support to the area.
Other options include stretching exercises and ice packs applied directly to the affected part of your foot (plantar fascia).
In some cases, the problem may not be caused by overuse or poor posture but rather by a condition called plantar fasciosis. This is an infection of the skin around the base of your big toe. You may have no symptoms at all until they become severe enough to affect your daily activities.
If left untreated, plantar fasciosis can lead to permanent damage to your foot and even amputation if it spreads into other parts of your body.
To ensure you get the correct treatment for your condition, consult a podiatrist who can examine your foot and make the final determination. In any case, you can find several ways to treat plantar fasciitis yourself:
Boots: You may benefit from wearing a supportive boot at all times if walking barefoot or in normal shoes is too painful. A doctor will need to prescribe this so that they can fit them for your foot properly. In some cases, you may only need to wear them at night to give your plantar fascia time to rest.
Night Splints: Similar to a boot, a night splint also helps your foot relax by keeping your foot in an extended position. A doctor will be able to advise you on how long and when you should wear it. It is normally worn while you sleep so that it has a minimum impact on your day-to-day life.
Stretching Exercises: Your podiatrist will be able to show you some simple exercises that you can do to stretch your plantar fascia. You should do these at least three times per day to ensure lasting relief.
Anti-Inflammatory Medication: Over the counter pain medication can be purchased to help relieve the pain and reduce inflammation. Be sure to consult a doctor before taking any pharmaceuticals, however.
In all cases, the podiatrist can also provide a custom orthotic for you to wear in your shoe. This can help to reduce the impact on your plantar fascia and take some of the strain off it while you are walking or running. If you do not wish to pursue this option then you may want to speak with a podiatric surgeon about having a cortisone shot directly into the affected area.
If left untreated, plantar fasciitis can make it very difficult to walk and even lead to chronic issues such as arthritis in the foot. See a podiatrist as soon as possible for treatment options and advice on how to proceed at home.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that can make even the simplest of tasks difficult. If you do not receive treatment soon, it can lead to more long-term complications. If you suspect that you have plantar fasciitis, speak to a podiatrist immediately for the best advice and treatment options.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call today.
Sources & references used in this article:
Complications of plantar fascia rupture associated with corticosteroid injection by JI Acevedo, JL Beskin – Foot & ankle international, 1998 – journals.sagepub.com
Anatomy of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia in relation to the calcaneus in various age groups by SW Snow, WHO Bohne, E DiCarlo… – Foot & ankle …, 1995 – journals.sagepub.com
Plantar fascia tension device by WE Nordt III – US Patent 6,602,216, 2003 – Google Patents
The use of night splints for treatment of recalcitrant plantar fasciitis by KL Wapner, PF Sharkey – Foot & Ankle, 1991 – journals.sagepub.com
Tissue-specific plantar fascia-stretching exercise enhances outcomes in patients with chronic heel pain: a prospective, randomized study by BF DiGiovanni, DA Nawoczenski, ME Lintal, EA Moore… – JBJS, 2003 – journals.lww.com
Plantar fasciitis by DD Dyck Jr, LA Boyajian-O’Neill – Clinical Journal of Sport …, 2004 – journals.lww.com