Getting Back on Your Feet: Plantar Fasciitis
If you’re a remotely active person, pain in your feet and heels is the last thing you want to worry about. Plantar fasciitis is a result of the plantar fascia – the ligament that supports the arch of your foot – becoming inflamed, irritated or is strained. This causes pain on the bottom of the foot near the heal bone.
While plantar fasciitis can occur for a number of reasons, the main causes are:
- Extreme arches, either very high or completely flat
- Tight calf muscles
- Sudden increase in high impact exercise/training
- Being overweight/obese
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Age-related degenerative changes
Once inflamed, any activity can irritate an inflamed plantar fascia. The most common symptom is pain in the morning when one gets out of bed and takes his/her first few steps. This pain can be sharp and may limit the ability to put weight on the foot. Characteristically, it will improve over the first few steps and get better throughout the day.
There are several recommended methods of treatment to get you back on your feet, free of pain, including:
- Night splinting, which has been shown in multiple studies to be the most effective. The patient can wear a padded splint that holds the foot in a neutral position while they sleep. Interestingly, sleep can aggravate many orthopaedic conditions! We generally hold our foot in certain positions while we sleep, which can aggravate plantar fasciitis pain. Comfortable plantar fasciitis nighttime splints can be purchased at a local drugstore and ARE the most effective treatment for this condition.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines (i.e., Aleve, Advil, etc.) used regularly for 10-14 days can be very effective.
- Physical therapy, focusing on calf stretching and other muscle strengthening exercises can help alleviate problems with plantar fasciitis long-term.
- Occasionally, a cortisone injection is recommended. This injection can be very helpful, though is often painful and is therefore reserved as a second-line treatment.
If you think you might be suffering from plantar fasciitis call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Matthew T. Boes today and get back on your feet!