Plantar fasciitis is the most common foot pain complaint. It is an inflammation caused by excessive stretching or use of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom, or the plantar side, of the foot. It attaches to the calcaneous, or the heel bone, and extends to the forefoot where it connects to the metatarsal joints. An inflamed plantar fascia can lead to other problems such as heel pain, arch pain and heel spurs.
With plantar fasciitis, the bottom of the foot usually hurts near the inside of the foot where the heel and the arch meet. The pain is often worst first thing in the morning or after a period of rest. This is due to the fascia contracting back to its original shape when the foot is at rest. The first few steps after rest are painful and difficult until the fascia stretches back out. Over time, the tiny bands that make up the fascia tissue may break, causing the pain worsens. These breaks in the fascia tissue can create scarring, signaling the body to protect the area. Heel spurs may occur.
Excessive stress to the plantar fascia leads to inflammation and discomfort. This stress can be caused by:
- Unusually high-arched feet.
- Overuse or a sudden increase in physical activity of the foot.
- Excessive weight on the foot due to obesity, pregnancy or lifting heavy loads.
- Climbing ladders without the use of proper shoes and support.
- Improperly fitted footwear. If the arch of the shoe is not fully securing the arch of the foot, the foot is short-changed of proper arch support. Plantar fasciitis can then become a problem.
While plantar fasciitis is the most common foot pain complaint, it is often the easiest to heal and prevent. Proper treatment for plantar fasciitis includes:
- Custom-fitted ezWalker® Custom Performance Orthotics for support, stability, and improvement of balance and posture. The ezWalker® orthotic custom fits each foot independently while securing the arch and giving the best possible aid in the healing and prevention of plantar fasciitis. However, this condition will reoccur after healing, if the arch is not supported properly.
- HTP heel seats are another alternative for healing plantar fasciitis.
- Ice/heat therapy is recommended to reduce inflammation and speed healing.
- Sleeping with a night splint is a must to heal plantar fasciitis. It’s important that the fascia remain in an elongated position to avoid reinjury upon weight bearing, so it’s recommended that a night splint be used during long periods of rest and sleep.
- Never going barefoot during the healing process. The foot should be supported at all times while healing plantar fasciitis. Many comfort clog-type shoes with a built-in arch support are good for use around the house to avoid going barefoot. However, ezWalker® Custom Orthotics can also be used in slippers since these types of shoes normally don’t have support.
Follow these recommendations and give your plantar fascia plenty of time for healing. It usually takes twice as long to heal the pain as the amount of time you have suffered with the condition.
Make sure you’re fitting your shoes correctly. Our feet are constantly changing as we age. Have your fit checked regularly. And remember, the size on the measuring device is only a reference. Mass-manufactured shoes are NOT all created equal. Refer to the Shoe Fitting Reference Guide for proper guidelines on how to best fit your shoes.
If you follow these guidelines and your pain persists, you must seek the counsel of a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.