What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a severe pain of the foot caused by the tightening, thickening and inflammation of the plantar fascia connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the ball of the foot. Since the foot is literally under a lot of stress all of the time, wearing a highly supportive shoe is a great way to begin managing this condition. There are stretching exercises that can help alleviate this pain over time. The most effective way to address plantar fasciitis can most often be seeking the professional help of a physiotherapist to address the core problem and advise you on the proper lifestyle modifications, which may include a change of footwear or the use of custom foot orthoics. If you already wear supportive shoes, however, you need to put more emphasis on getting the foot treated properly.
There are some home exercises that can also be helpful in the management of plantar fasciitis. Towel stretches and heel raises are two stretches that reliably work the plantar fascia tendon and can alleviate discomfort in the heel throughout the day. While lying down, put a towel under the toes and pull the towel towards your body to extend the plantar fascia tendon. Much of the pain of this condition is attributed to the rapid expansion of the tendon after standing up and placing weight on it. Therefore, regularly stretching this area can generate flexibility that can reduce heel pain.
Heel dips can be done by standing on a step or stair and gently lowering the heels while standing on the toes. This exercise can also increase flexibility in the tendon and should be done in conjunction with ice and rest so the foot is not overly stressed.
Investing in and consistently wearing a quality orthopedic shoe can be an essential part of treating plantar fasciitis. Any shoe that features excellent arch support and a supportive heel that cups is going to prevent pain more efficiently than a shoe that is flat or otherwise constructed out of poor materials that can’t withstand sustained use.
Without proper treatment, plantar fasciitis can be an extremely painful, disabling and a long-lasting condition, and a bone spur, also known as a heel spur, can develop in the foot. Walking and standing on the feet is very painful and can not only interfere with daily living, but can cause problems with working all day as well. The individual will medicate themselves with over-the-counter pain medications. These medications most often are the non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). There can be serious side effects for some individuals, especially when taken on a long-term basis. They can cause stomach irritation, leading to ulcers and possible bleeding.
There are also various exercises designed to manage a heel spur. One form of simple exercise that is considered an effective heel spur treatment is stretching. Try to do stretching exercises involving your calves and Achilles tendons in the morning or two to three times a day. This type of exercise can actually make your muscles more flexible. Most of the time, overweight people can have a heel spur and there is no better way to treat this than losing that extra weight.
Another pain management option for a bone spur is the use of anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen and aspirin, although it should go without saying that the inflammation reduced by these drugs is only a small part of the problem of plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. These types of medicines can control pain and reduce swelling. Another option for management is to use night splints while sleeping. Night splints are used to avoid the contraction of your feet while resting. It also gives support to your foot muscles and ankles. For women, it is best to not wear high heels most of the time.
Also used are over-the-counter shoe inserts, or better yet, custom foot orthotics. Very often the over-the-counter inserts prove to be of very little value. Many people suffer through long bouts of pain, sometimes for months or years. Taking the proper steps for treatment can bring relief much quicker than if left not treated. Even with proper treatment, it can take several months or a year before the condition is alleviated and brought under control. Taking charge of your treatment is a must. The proper steps should not be put off but started as soon as possible. These are the steps that are needed to start on the road of recovery.