‘Health is Wealth’
This is a very common adage but still is a piece of undervalued advice in modern times. People are more involved in enhancing their exterior look, and fail to take notice of the most common signs given out by our body. One of the most overlooked body parts is the foot, which actually carries the whole body weight every day.
Have you ever thought! What if, when you wake up one morning and are not able to take even one step ahead without feeling a burning sensation or a skewering pain at the bottom of your foot? It is in times like this that you question yourself, “why do I have this pain and how can I get rid of it?”
The symptoms point towards plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis), one of the most common causes of heel pain. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, around 2 million Americans seek treatment for heel pain and burning pain caused by plantar fasciitis, which is a huge number.
As per the survey conducted, 54 percent of people say that it interferes with their normal work activities.
Let’s explore further about plantar fasciitis, know its symptoms, causes, and what steps should be taken to overcome this pain?
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fascia, is a thick band of tissue connecting your heel bone to your toes. Fascia supports the arch of your foot stretching slightly, when you put your foot on the floor and then shortens back to maintain the arch, acting as a shock absorber.
Inflammation in these tissues is generally caused by small tears or overstretching and leads to plantar fasciitis. An early symptom of plantar fasciitis is the stabbing pain that generally happens during walking in early morning. you take your first steps in the morning and may diminish in some time.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis causes pain in the bottom of your foot- at the front or center of the heel bone whereas some people have a burning sensation at the bottom of the foot. As mentioned earlier, the pain usually occurs when you take your first steps in the morning or when you stand up after sitting for a long time. Due to heel stiffness, climbing stairs becomes difficult too.
Plantar Fasciitis Causes & Risk Factors
Plantar fasciitis acts as a tie-rod to support the arch of the foot, where it sustains the stress when the foot bears the weight while walking or running. When the tension on the tie-rod increases, small tears can occur in the fascia and repeated tearing may lead to fascia inflammation, causing pain.
Plantar fasciitis is also common among pregnant women as the ligament has to bear the extra weight causing inflammation and leading to pain. Even long-distance runners are more likely to develop plantar fascia problems.
Though the reasons for such condition are still not very clear, you stand a greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis if you are:
- Walking or standing on hard surfaces for a prolonged time
- Have high arches or flat feet
- Repeatedly wearing high-heeled shoes
- Wearing worn-out shoes with thin soles
- Position of the foot that places a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue.
- Age (Most common between the ages of 40 and 60).
Can Plantar Fasciitis Happen In Children?
Not likely! As children grow, their bones and joints develop and change. Unless there is excessive use of ligament or the child is wearing old unsupportive shoes, they are not likely to suffer from Plantar Fasciitis.
If your child complains of inflammation at the base of the foot, apply ice and massage the area to reduce the inflammation. If the condition worsens over time, it’s always advised to see a doctor.
Heel Spurs And Plantar Fasciitis
Heel Spur is the calcium deposit that creates a bony protrusion on the underside of the heel bone along the plantar fascia. Although heel spurs are often painless, sometimes they may cause heel pain. Due to the condition, they are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis.
A podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon can diagnose a heel spur with an X-ray. Heel spurs share similar causes with that of plantar fasciitis and so are their treatments.
Heel Spur treatment too includes exercises, anti-inflammatory medications as well as custom-made orthotics.
Some DIY Home Remedies
You don’t need to rush to a podiatrist at the first signs of inflammation. Here are few remedies to help you get rid of the pain. Though it may take around 6-12 months for the foot to get back to normal but trying the following tips may shorten the healing time.
Notice what makes your pain worse and just stop doing those things. Keeping weight off the foot is important until the inflammation goes down.
2. Applying Ice
Place an ice-pack on your heels for 20 minutes at a time and repeat the process 3 to 4 times a day. Else dip your heels in ice-cold water for 10-15 minutes, few times a day.
Massaging the arch and heels using the thumb would soothe the pain in the heels. Otherwise, put a golf ball under your arches and roll. The uneven surface from the dimples greatly helps in providing relief.
4. Stretching and Regular Exercise
Stretch your calves and Achilles tendon to retain their flexibility. Exercise regularly to make your lower leg and foot muscles stronger, as it would stabilize your ankle and help in relieving heel pain too.
5. Replacing Old Athletic Shoes
Make sure you timely replace your shoes if you wear the same shoes each day for exercising. Depending on how often you wear your shoes, non-runners should replace them every six months whereas runners should do the same every 400-500 miles.
6. Foot Braces or Splint
Night splints stretch your calf and the arch of your foot, holding your foot in a flexed position overnight. This can be extremely helpful as it may prevent morning pain and stiffness.
7. Insoles, Support, or Orthotics
Arch supports allocates the pressure evenly across the feet whereas shoes with thick soles and extra cushioning reduces the pain thus, using them helps you stand or walk comfortably.
8. Regulate weight
Being overweight alleviates the pressure on your plantar fascia. Having a controlled healthy diet would help you in reducing weight and would help you lead a healthy lifestyle.
So what are you waiting for? Want to get back to your normal routine? Sooner or later, you may seek treatment for plantar fasciitis. At that time, the less invasive the treatment will be, the faster would your recovery be. Do try these home remedies to ease the pain. In case the pain persists, visiting the doctor is always advisable. The doctor may give an injection of a corticosteroid directly into the damaged section of the ligament or suggest the relevant treatment.