Plantar Fasciitis: Pain in Foot

Plantar Fasciitis
Pain in Your Foot?

Plantar fasciitis is a cause for pain in the foot. Plantar what you may say? Plantar fasciitis affects many patients who have been walking or running incorrectly for a while. They don’t know why their foot, ankle or heel is so sore and especially first thing in the morning. You might even think you have a trapped nerve in your foot or heel, but it is not.

Today I thought I would share some information I found on how to fix plantar fasciitis. There are may options available and I want to look at orthotics for your shoes, taping, soft tissue techniques and exercise stretches that you can do to help your painful feet. Oh and yes I know you probably thought fasciitis was spelt with one “i”, but there are supposed to be to “i’s” it is not a typo.

Pain Under Your Foot

First thing to know is what is the plantar fascia.

The plantar fascia is a connective tissue found in the sole of your foot. Plantar fascia goes from the heel bone (calcaneus) to your toes. It is also called the plantar aponeurosis.

You may also wonder what is fascia?

Well fascia can mean many things and even at the fascia congresses they have discussed the confusion of the term fascia. Most would tell the plantar fascia is a band of thick tendon like tissue.

If you really want to know more about the history and meaning of fascia and don’t mind some heavy ready then I can recommend the below article by Dr Helene Langevin, MD and Dr Peter A. Huijing, PhD. from the fascia congress of 2009 held in Amsterdam.

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The Symptoms

Symptoms I hear most from people with plantar fasciitis are:

  • It is very sore when I get of bed in the morning and stand on my feet,
  • I need to walk awhile in the morning for the sole of my foot pain to go away,
  • The pain is excruciating at my heel when I put pressure on it,
  • It started without me doing anything to my foot,
  • There is a burning pain in my heel and inside arch of my foot.

The Causes

Unfortunately the exact reason why plantar fasciitis starts is not known.

As you may have read above, the fascia scientists are still debating what fascia is exactly. They do know it changes thickness, a bony heel spur might form, biomechanics like walking and the way the foot moves when loaded can play apart.

An x-ray can be used to see if there is a heel spur on the calcaneus bone of the foot. Usually your doctor or chiropractor would suspect plantar fasciitis by the symptoms explained above and severe tenderness to touch along the inside arch of the foot and heel bone area.

Treatment Options

So you think you have plantar fasciitis causing the pain in your feet, but what can you do to help get rid of the pain?

Here are some self-help foot pain treatments you can try:

  1. Time – time is a healer here with most plantar fasciitis patients needing to know it can be months not days before the heel pain goes away completely.
  2. Night Splint – using a foot night splint when you sleep at night can help reduce the pain you get in the morning.
  3. Ice Pack – apply an ice pack like a covered bag of frozen peas or one of those blue gel packs under the heel and arch when resting to reduce inflammation and pain.
  4. Soft Shoes – maybe try rubberized sole shoes instead of high heels or hard sole shoes to reduce impact from the ground.
  5. Shoe Orthotics – an orthotic arch support can help reduce any mechanical stress on the arch of the foot and let the plantar fascia heal.
  6. Anti-Inflammatories – speak to your pharmacist or GP about an appropriate pain relief medication for your heel pain.
  7. Arch Taping – using sports injury tape like rugby players use around joints around the inside arch of the foot might help the foot mechanics.
  8. Cold Can Rolling – sometimes people can get relief from the arch pain when the roll their foot on a cold can on the floor when sitting watching TV.
  9. Stretching – The muscle you would want to stretch would be your calves (gastrocnemius) muscle.

Extra Help Needed Please

If the plantar fasciitis pain persists for months then it can be considered a chronic plantar fasciitis. More drastic treatment options for chronic pain might include:

  1. Steroid Injection – a cortisone injection into the area of pain might be used to change the inflammation in the fascia.
  2. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy – this is a therapy where shock waves are used for analgesia (pain relief) of the chronic heal pain.
  3. Graston Technique or Active Release Technique – Some chiropractors may use tools for the Graston technique for the fascia or their hands with another soft tissue technique called Active Release technique (ART).
  4. Plantar Fascia Surgery – maybe an orthopaedic surgeon might suggest looking at a surgical procedure called “percutaneous plantar fasciotomy”.

Have you had or got plantar fasciitis heel pain? What did you find helped you the most and how long did it take for you to get better?