Plantar fasciitis presents as pain that is felt for several days to months on the bottom of the heel/medial arch of the foot. The term plantar fasciitis literally means inflammation and thickening of the fibrous sheet of tissue on the bottom of the foot. It normally feels worst the first 15 minutes of the morning and commonly feels tired, achy, and ‘crampy’ by the end of the day.
What causes Plantar fasciitis ?
The injury is not due to direct trauma to the foot, but usually comes from overuse. It is one of the most common overuse injuries in athletes, especially with long distance runners and basketball players. The repetitive stress on the bottom of the foot irritates the fibrous tissue (fascia) causing pain especially where it attaches to the heel.
How do I get rid of Plantar fasciitis?
- Swim instead of run for exercise.
- Change from running on hard surfaces to soft surfaces.
- Cycle with a stiff bicycle shoe instead of an unsupportive shoe.
- Avoid going barefoot.
- Make sure your shoes are comfortable, allow unrestricted foot motion, while providing comfortable support. Put supportive footwear next to your bed so that you can slip them on for even the first few steps of each new day.
- Soft heel cushions (Tuli supports) may reduce the heel pain
- Strengthening the calf muscles has been show to decrease the severity of plantar
Stretching is important in elongating shortened tissues that can contribute to plantar fasciitis As we age, our connective tissues become shortened, less pliant, and less resilient to physical stresses. Stretching the calves and the plantar fascia is a good preventive measure as well as a treatment. Here are 2 examples of good stretches. The last picture is massage with a golf ball (this could be substituted for a frozen plastic water bottle).
*If home treatment does not work after 1 week, consider visiting a chiropractic physician or other physical medicine doctor who can offer muscle therapy/massage, electromodalities, taping, manipulation, and stretching therapies.
What if self treatment does not work?
There are many more treatment options if you go to an office specialized in physical medicine (chiropractic, physiotherapy, etc.). Treatment may include:
- Myofascial release treatment ( instrument assisted massage)
- Foot manipulation
- Over the counter/customized orthotics
- Night splint
- X-ray to rule out heel spur