Health Matters – Plantar Fasciitis

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 . . . When the plantar fascia is excessively stretched, this can cause plantar fasciitis –

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel plan, heel spurs, and pain in the arch of the foot. A number of issues can lead to the inflammation and pain of plantar fasciitis. For example, flat feet, a condition that results in collapsing of the arch. As well, an unusually high arch can contribute to the pain of plantar fasciitis.

Pregnancy or being overweight can also cause this agonizing condition. Runners are often susceptible to plantar fasciitis, as are athletes and individuals who have jobs requiring standing for long periods of time on hard surfaces. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix, and it may take six to 12 months of treatment to resolve the pain of plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis pain is very severe and occurs at the bottom of the foot along the inside, where the heel and the arch meet. This pain is most intense first thing in the morning or after resting. As you begin moving around, the pain often eases and becomes more like a dull ache.

Treatment options depend on what is causing your particular case of plantar fasciitis. If the cause is flat feet, orthotics may be helpful. Orthotics will have to be fitted specifically for your feet.

If high arches are the problem, you will need to pay special attention to the type of shoes you are wearing. Running shoes are a good choice as they provide extra cushioning when walking and running. If you stand for long periods of time on a hard surface, look into getting a cushioned carpet or pad that you can stand on, thus relieving some of the pressure on the bottom of your feet Stretching exercises for your feet and calves before beginning physical activity will also help. Anti-inflammatory medications may also provide some relief.

If none of the above remedies alleviate the pain, cortisone injections may be needed. Supplementary treatments include physical therapy and/or wearing a splint at night.

Finally, if nothing seems to be helping and the pain is still unbearable, surgery may be required. Fortunately, most people will achieve pain relief long before surgery becomes necessary. Surgery is rare and not always successful. The surgical procedure involves release of the ligament that extends along the bottom of the foot.

The good news is there are things you can do to prevent plantar fasciitis before it develops. For example, avoid running on hard or uneven surfaces; avoid weight gain or lose excess weight; and wear shoes that provide proper support, particularly in the arch area.

More information on plantar fasciitis can be found at the Mayo Clinic and the website.