If you’re a teacher, a runner, or wear a lot of unsupportive shoes, chances are you’ve experienced plantar fasciitis at one time or another. It’s the most common cause of heel pain in the feet. It truly is a pain, too, because it usually happens to people who are super active and energetic—the last thing you want to do is sit down! However, if you come up with this case of pain in the heels, the best thing to do is rest immediately and mend the problem. If you keep walking, standing, or running on the discomfort, you’ll likely end up with a chronic condition that’s going to require more extensive treatment.
Common Pain—But it Still Hurts!
On the bottom of your foot, running along your arch, is the plantar fascia. This thick band of tissue spans from your heel bone to your toes. When it’s injured, the tissue develops tiny tears that can thicken it even more. The pain and inflammation—a stabbing or aching feeling in the arch and heel—is the worst when you’re getting out of bed in the morning or standing up after long periods of sitting down.
Causes are plentiful, and overuse is one of the overarching causes of discomfort. It happens to a lot of runners who increase their mileage too quickly or wear worn out shoes when they run. These habits can aggravate the plantar fascia by allowing the foot to roll too far inward for too long a period of time—a foot strike known as overpronation. Tight calf muscles, obesity, age, high arches, and flat feet are also contributors to this condition.
Bring in Your Feet to McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group
Some of the diagnostics we use include having you stand and walk around the office so we can see your posture and foot strike. We’ll be checking to see if you overpronate or oversupinate when you take a step. Once we have you sitting down, we’ll feel around the heel and arch. Pain in these areas usually indicates that you have this condition.
You can also tell if you have plantar fasciitis if it is difficult for you to point your toe towards the ceiling. This is a sign that your calf muscles are tight, which can add to the pain. You should be able to at least make a 90 degree angle with your foot during this action.
Rest, Ice, Stretch, and Get Orthotics
Immediate rest and ice need to be administered as soon as you experience pain. Early treatment will be the best prevention against more invasive methods. Ice the foot 10 minutes every hour for three days if the pain is really bad. After a few days, you can reduce the ice to three times a day. We can show you ways to tape your foot to aid in the rest and recovery stage too.
Keep the tissue limber by stretching. Roll a ball under your arch and heel to massage and stretch out the plantar fascia. You can also sit down, bend your leg at the knee, and pull the ball of the foot and toes toward you to get a quick stretch. Wall stretches and a night splint might also keep your foot warmed up and ready for action.
If this initial treatment hasn’t worked for you, we can give you more advanced treatments at our office, custom orthotics being one of them. If your condition has become chronic, we might try some other high-tech treatments, like laser therapy, to stimulate the healing process. Sometimes the condition has progressed to the point where it isn’t responding to any non-invasive methods. This is when we might discuss surgery as an option.
Please know that the treatments we suggest to heal your plantar fasciitis come from our genuine concern for your quality of life. Please call the McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group at (916) 961-3434 to make an appointment with Dr. Brian McDowell or Dr. Gavin Ripp. Our office is in Carmichael, CA. We can also be found on Facebook!