Do you wake up to sharp pains in the bottom of your foot when you take your first steps of the day? Does that pain subside gradually as your foot limbers up? Does the pain return when you've been standing for a long period of time? If so, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis.
What is plantar fasciitis?
One of the most common causes of foot pain, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a tendon that connects the base of your foot with your heel. This type of inflammation is particularly common in runners, ballet dancers, aerobics instructors and in people who are overweight. It is also most common in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60. This condition is the result of small tears developing in the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed using a combination of a physical exam and x-ray imaging.
Treatments for plantar fasciitis
1. OTC medications. For mild heel pain from plantar fasciitis, your doctor will likely suggest over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen. However, these types of medicines can irritate the stomach in some patients, even leading to ulcers in rare cases. It's best to limit your intake of these substances as much as possible.
2. Physical therapy. Physical is a non-invasive way to help ease the chronic pain associated with plantar fasciitis. In physical therapy, the therapist will instruct you on how to do a series of exercises at home to help strengthen your Achilles tendon and your lower leg muscles. This generally helps to take the pressure off of the plantar fascia and, thus, reduce the pain.
3. Orthotics. Shoe insert (orthotics), either custom-made or off-the-shelve, may also be beneficial in taking the pressure off of the plantar fascia. Orthotics are particularly useful for individuals who have to stand for long periods of time, such as restaurant servers, those who work in manufacturing plants and retail workers.
4. Steroid shots. Steroid shots can also be useful in reducing the pain of plantar fasciitis. However, such shots are best used sparingly as they can actually weaken the plantar fascia and cause more damage than good in the long run.
5. Surgery. In extreme cases, surgery may be warranted to correct plantar fasciitis. In surgery, the surgeon re-connects the plantar fascia to the heel bone and/or repairs any tears.
If you're experiencing heel pain, you don't just have to live with it. There are a number of treatments for plantar fasciitis, ranging from OTC medications to surgery. It's best to consult with a good foot specialist like Foot First Podiatry Centers to find the treatment that best-suited to your condition.
I was badly injured a year ago, and it took a long time to get back to my normal level of ability. One of the things that helped more than anything was the time that I spent in physical therapy. I didn’t always love going to physical therapy – in fact, sometimes, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. But ultimately, the therapists and other patients I worked with helped inspire me to get better, and the exercises facilitated my healing process. I started this blog to talk about all of the things I learned about physical therapy and healing during my recovery time. I hope my blog reaches other accident victims. I want to offer encouragement, hope, and information for people who are in the same boat that I was in.