Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common conditions causing heel pain. The condition involves inflammation of the plantar fascia -- a tough, fibrous band of tissue that runs along the sole of the
foot with attachments to the heel bone (calcaneus) proximally and to the base of the toes distally. The plantar fascia provides support to the arch of the foot and has an important role in normal
foot mechanics during walking. Tension or stress in the plantar fascia increases when one places weight on the foot (such as with standing) and as one pushes off on the ball of the foot and toes --
motions which occur during normal walking or running. Inflammation and pain start in the fascia either as a result of an increase in activity level (as in initiating a walking or running program), or
in association with the normal aging process. With aging, the fascia loses some of its normal elasticity or resilience and can become irritated with routine daily activities. Less commonly, plantar
fasciitis can develop in association with general medical conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Plantar fasciitis symptoms are usually exacerbated via "traction" (or stretching) forces on the plantar fascia. In simple terms, you plantar fascia is repeatedly overstretched. The most common reason
for the overstretching are an elongated arch due to either poor foot biomechanics (eg overpronation) or weakness of your foot arch muscles. Compression type plantar fascia injuries have a traumatic
history. Landing on a sharp object that bruises your plantar fascia is your most likely truma. The location of plantar fasciitis pain will be further under your arch than under your heel, which is
more likely to be a fat pad contusion if a single trauma caused your pain. The compression type plantar fasciitis can confused with a fat pad contusion that is often described as a "stone
The condition typically starts gradually with mild pain at the heel bone often referred to as a stone bruise. You're more likely to feel it after (not during) exercise. The pain classically occurs
right after getting up in the morning and after a period of sitting. If you don't treat plantar fasciitis, it may become a chronic condition. You may not be able to keep up your level of activity,
and you may develop symptoms of foot, knee, hip and back problems because plantar fasciitis can change the way you walk.
X-rays are a commonly used diagnostic imaging technique to rule out the possibility of a bone spur as a cause of your heel pain. A bone spur, if it is present in this location, is probably not the
cause of your pain, but it is evidence that your plantar fascia has been exerting excessive force on your heel bone. X-ray images can also help determine if you have arthritis or whether other, more
rare problems, stress fractures, bone tumors-are contributing to your heel pain.
Non Surgical Treatment
The following self-help treatments have been found to be most effective. Rest your foot. Reduce the amount of weight-bearing activities you participate in. Get off of your feet and elevate them. This
will allow healing to begin. Apply ice to your foot. Applications of ice packs that provide a comfortable cooling to the heel and arch (not a freezing cold) will help reduce pain, swelling, and
inflammation. Apply the ice to the heel and arch (not the toes). Make sure it is comfortable, and leave on your foot for about 20 minutes, 3 times a day. If you have any medical problems such as
diabetes, poor circulation, etc., discuss the use of ice with your doctor before applying the ice. ActiveWrap allows you to apply comfortable cold therapy to your foot without messy ice cubes. Use
while on the "go." Do not walk with bare feet. Always protect your heels, arches, and plantar fascia with good supportive shoes. Orthaheel Orthotic Flip Flops For Men and Women are designed for
walking comfort with built in orthotic footbeds that help reduce foot pain from plantar fasciitis. Use in the house or on the beach. Stretch the Plantar Fascia while sleeping. Plantar Fasciitis and
Heel Spur pain is usually worse with the first steps in the morning. This is due to the Plantar Fascia tightening up, or contracting while we sleep. To prevent these pain producing contractures of
the plantar fascia, the foot must be held in its normal or neutral position while we sleep. This optimal position of the foot is maintained with our comfortable and supportive Night Splint. When foot
contractures are prevented during sleep, the "first step pains" Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs will gradually subside. Stretch the Plantar Fascia during the day. Even though the Plantar Fascia is a
thick tissue band with very little "give" to it, with the proper care (a Night Splint and the following exercises) it can be stretched a small amount. By stretching the Plantar Fascia even a bit, its
abnormal pull on the heel is reduced. This will help to reduce pain and inflammation in the heel and arch. Two of the most effective exercises recommended are. Before stepping down, especially after
sleeping or resting, stretch the arch of the foot by stretching your legs out in front of you (do not bend the knee). Place a towel around the ball of the foot. Slowly pull on the ends of the towel,
pulling the toes and ball of the foot back as far as is comfortable. Hold the foot in this position for ten seconds. Repeat at least ten times. You should feel a pull on the bottom of the foot,
especially in the arch. This stretches the plantar fascia, and reduces its pull on the heel. Stand about 2 to 3 feet from a wall. Lean forward with your hands against the wall. With the painful foot
behind, place the other foot forward. Press against the wall, shifting weight over the front foot, while straightening the back leg. Keep the heel of the back foot on the floor and feel the stretch
in the heel, Achilles tendon, and calf. Hold this position for ten seconds. Repeat at least ten times, and try to do this three times a day. When these things are achieved, the inflammation and pain
of Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs will gradually subside. If you are unsure of the nature of your foot problem, if your pain is intense and does not subside, if you are a diabetic or have other
medical problems, if your pain is due to an injury, if an open sore is present, if a mass can be felt, or if you think that you may have an infection, we suggest that before beginning any of the
above treatments you consult with your doctor.
More invasive procedures to treat plantar fasciitis are usually sought only after other treatment has failed to produce favorable results. Corticosteroid injections deliver medicine into the injured
fascia to reduce pain. However, this treatment may weaken the plantar fascia and result in further damage. In addition, extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a treatment where sound waves are
sent through the damaged tissue in order to stimulate the damaged tissue and encourage healing. This method is relatively new in treating plantar fasciitis and your doctor will be able to tell you if
it is the right method for you. Lastly, surgery is the last option for those suffering from chronic or severe plantar fasciitis.