If you’re suffering with heel pain, plantar fasciitis may be to blame – especially if you’re a runner. One of the tell-tale signs of the condition is a stabbing pain in the heel when you take your first steps in the morning. The pain usually subsides after you get up and start moving around.
But the pain can be intense, and it might return after standing or sitting for a long period of time.
Plantar fasciitis tends to be more common in runners, but you can also develop this condition if you’re overweight and/or wear shoes that don’t have adequate support.
Plantar fasciitis is the result of inflammation in the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, and connects your heel bone to your toes.
The plantar fascia (that band of tissue along the bottom of your foot) typically acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring that supports the arch in your foot. Small tears can arise in the fascia if tension and stress are put on this “bowstring.” Over time, repetitive stretching and tearing can cause inflammation.
If you feel like you are experiencing early signs of Plantar Fasciitis, you could take preventive measures to help with the pain and swelling. This is when you should use compression socks. It’s a small change that could make a big difference.
Usually, the direct cause of plantar fasciitis isn’t clear, but there are many factors that can contribute to this condition, such as:
Although plantar fasciitis is a common condition, it’s not one that should be ignored. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to chronic heel pain that interferes with your daily activities. And if you change the way you walk just to avoid pain, you may wind up injuring your feet, hips, knees and/or back.
Before you can start treating this condition, you need to first get a diagnosis from your doctor or podiatrist.
Typically, a diagnosis is made based on medical history and a physical examination. During the physical examination, the doctor will look for areas of tenderness in the foot. Knowing where your pain is located can help your doctor determine its cause.
In most cases, you won’t need any tests. Some doctors may recommend getting an X-ray or an MRI to make sure that another issue isn’t causing the pain, such as a pinched nerve or a stress fracture.
Most people with plantar fasciitis are able to recover in a few months using conservative treatments, such as icing the painful areas, resting, and stretching. And as mentioned earlier, compression socks are something you can wear every day, but first, you should try a few out to see which is best for you.
Other treatment options include:
Certain exercises and therapeutic devices may be able to speed up the recovery process. These include:
Your doctor may recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers to deal with the pain, such as ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil, etc.), or naproxen sodium (Aleve).
If conservative methods aren’t giving you relief, your doctor may recommend something more aggressive, such as:
Along with conventional treatment, there are many lifestyle changes and remedies you can try to alleviate pain. These include:
While there’s no surefire way to prevent plantar fasciitis, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing this painful condition.
Learn how to relax your lower leg muscles, especially your calves and ankles, whenever you’re walking, sitting, running or standing. Any tension in your legs or glutes will put more pressure on your Plantar tendon whenever you move.
Instead of pulling yourself forward with your legs when running, lead with your upper body and let your legs follow. Try leaning slightly from your ankles and keeping your stride short. Make sure that you’re landing with your feet directly under your center of mass.
Make sure that you’re landing on the middle of your foot instead of your heel. Doing so will keep your plantar fascia relaxed and also reduce the impact on your heels.
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