Almost 40% of Americans have experienced heel pain, according to a study by the American Podiatric Medical Association. One of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. With the proper treatment, the pain will go away; however, it is a progressing condition that will get worse without treatment. Plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people, athletes, people who are overweight, pregnant women and those whose shoes have inadequate support. Plantar fasciitis can occur in one foot or both feet.

CAUSES & SYMPTOMS OF PLANTAR FASCIITIS

The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. It is likely to occur if you:

  • Roll your feet inward too much when you walk
  • Have higher arches or flat fee
  • Walk, stand or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces
  • Are overweight
  • Wear shoes that do not fit well or are worn out
  • Have a tight Achilles tendon or calf muscle

 

If you are experiencing pain when you stand or walk, stiffness, swelling, inflammation, redness, burning or tenderness in the bottom of your foot, you should see a podiatrist. To diagnose plantar fasciitis, the doctor will perform an exam and ask about your past health, your symptoms and what types of physical activities you do. He may take an X-ray if he suspects a problem with your bones, like a stress fracture.

PLANTAR FASCIITIS TREATMENT

Maintaining a healthy weight, wearing supportive shoes, resting your feet and addressing foot pain immediately can help you avoid plantar fasciitis. Dr. Brett Fried from South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers offered some other tips, as well. “This is one of the most common foot ailments from pediatrics to geriatrics. Daily stretching of the feet and wearing orthotics can help decrease the probability of this painful ailment.”

If you have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis by a podiatrist, there are some things you can do to alleviate the pain:

  •     Rest and cut back on activities
  •     Put ice on heel to reduce pain and swelling
  •     Take anti-inflammatories
  •     Do plantar fasciitis exercises, including heel and foot stretching
  •     Wear night splints while sleeping to stretch the foot
  •     Wear shoes with good support and cushions
  •     Wear heel cups or custom made orthotics (shoe inserts)
  •     Get steroid shots or injections

If these methods do not work, the doctor may prescribe a boot cast that needs to be worn for three to six weeks. The best thing you can do if you are experiencing constant heel pain (or any other pain in the foot or ankle) is to consult your podiatrist and get started on treatment immediately. The professional team at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers is available to provide you with the advice and treatment you may need for any conditions of the lower extremities. To schedule an appointment, call 561-793-6170 or click here.

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