What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is pain caused by the swelling of the fibrous band, Plantar Fascia, which connects the heel bone to the bones of the toes. The Plantar Fascia begins to swell and cause pain when it is experiences repeated strains which can lead to multiple tiny tears. Some of the common risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis are high arches, flat feet, poor shoe choices, tight calf muscles, and rolling your feet inwards as you walk.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Most people who suffer from Plantar Fasciitis report symptoms of pain or burning on the heel or bottom of their feet. The pain has been described as feeling like a stabbing sensation in the bottom of the feet. This heel pain is most frequently felt first thing in the morning and soon subsides after the first few steps as the plantar fascia loosens. After you are off your feet for a long period of time the pain may reoccur and only subside again after a few minutes of walking.
Another cause of the heel pain is strenuous exercise. The pain will occur after an athletic activity due to the extra stress that will be placed on the bottom of your foot.
If you are experiencing sharp pain between your third and fourth toes in the ball of your foot, you might have Morton’s Neuroma, which is a thickening of the tissue around a nerve to your toes.
Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis
One of the easiest habits to get into in order to prevent plantar fasciitis is to stretch out your calves and feet. Starting with you calves you will want to stretch them so that they do not become too tight and put unnecessary tension on your plantar fascia ligaments. Moving downwards from your calves treat your feet to a relaxing massage. This will help ease any leftover tension that you may feel in your feet after a long day. There are many massagers and foot baths that can help you relax your calves and feet and ward off any unnecessary pain.
With all this relaxation it is also important to support your feet properly. Proper footwear will not put extra pressure on any part of your foot and they will also support your arch so that your plantar fascia is not placed under extra stress. You can even strengthen you plantar fascia by performing simple toe scrunching exercises.
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
Before taking any steps towards treating your heel pain it is important to seek out medical advice. There are many cause of foot pain and plantar fasciitis is only one of them. In order for you to relieve your symptoms effectively you need to know what it is you are treating in the first place.
One of the first steps that you can take towards relieving your pain is to start wearing better fitting shoes. Specifically look for shoes that have a cushioned heel to absorb the energy of your foot hitting the hard ground. Also be sure that your shoes do not skimp on the arch support, a good arch support can reduce strain placed on the bottom of your feet. For those days when your feet need a little more help than your shoes can provide there are many braces, splints, and shoe inserts that are designed to help you relax your feet and relieve your heel pain.