Whether you're a casual walker, jogger or runner, plantar fasciitis is a foot condition so painful that you'll skip that day's exercise. Sometimes the pain can be so severe that you won't want to get out of bed. Here is what you need to know about this painful condition and how to deal with it should it surprise you some morning.
Along the bottom of your feet runs a band of tissue called the plantar fascia. This tissue extends from your heel to the base of your toes. It helps to keep your arch in place and provides stability as you flex your foot up and down. When this tissue becomes irritated, it becomes swollen and painful. The pain can be so severe that you can't put weight on that foot.
While an injury to the foot can cause plantar fasciitis, the cause is most often due to pushing your feet beyond their limits. The typical causes of this foot pain include:
- overheated and overworked foot muscles
- weak foot muscles that no longer support the foot and arch
- poor warmup routine before exercising resulting is the foot muscles being asked to perform before they are ready
- poorly fitted footwear that puts stress on the muscles in the bottom of the foot
Your podiatrist will help you understand which of your actions are triggering the plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms can come on suddenly then go away just as quickly. Or they may stay around for several hours with the same intensity. The most common symptoms include:
- sudden pain in the bottom of the foot first thing in the morning
- burning sensation along the bottom of the foot where the tissue band resides
- weakness in your foot when stepping on it
Typical Treatment Approaches
A podiatrist will recommend a few things to do to relieve your pain when it comes on. They will also suggest longer-term approaches to prevent a recurrence.
- hold ice against the bottom of your foot to reduce the pain and swelling
- roll your foot slowly back and forth on a tennis ball to relax the tissue band
- use an anti-inflammatory and pain medication, such as ibuprofen
Long-term approaches include:
- orthotics to wear in your shoes to support your feet
- physical therapy to stretch out and strengthen the muscles in your feet
- steroid injections into the tissue band for relief of pain and swelling
Your foot doctor will also help you put together a more effective warmup routine to get your feet ready for exercise and show you how to pick out the best shoes. For more information, contact Pinker & Associates or a similar organization.