A condition where the plantar fascia becomes inflamed and painful.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot-related diagnoses in Canada, causing heel pain in as many as 7% of people. While the initial discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis may not seem severe enough to warrant a visit to a professional. But plantar fasciitis which goes untreated can lead to severe pain that affects daily life and even simple activities.
As a result, it’s important to understand what plantar fasciitis is, how to know if you’re at risk, and when to see a chiropodist about your symptoms.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a ligament which begins at the heel bone and ends at the bones which form the base of the toes (called the metatarsal bones). This ligament, which runs along the bottom of the foot, helps to absorb the shock associated with walking, running, or otherwise putting pressure on your feet.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Because the plantar fascia isn’t as flexible as muscle, high pressure, consistent stress, or overstretching can result in tiny injuries and small tears along the ligament which result in inflammation and pain.
Plantar fasciitis is a overuse injury. It is common in individuals who work on their feet, in long-distance runners, individuals who are overweight, those with a high arch or a flat foot, and individuals that do not utilizing supportive footwear
Symptoms to Recognize
Those with plantar fasciitis will usually experience discomfort at the bottom of the heel, though this pain can also extend to the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis pain typically:
- Is worse first thing in the morning
- Feels like a shooting or stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot
- Is worse when first standing after sitting down for a long time
- Will decrease after walking for a short time but then get worse again after an extended period of walking
When to See a Professional
Pain associated with plantar fasciitis can become severe if left untreated, leading to difficulty performing daily tasks. In order to avoid the more serious pain associated with plantar fasciitis, consult with a professional as soon as you recognize discomfort, tenderness, or other painful symptoms.
What to Expect
Your chiropodist will ask you some questions about your medical history, level of activity, pain patterns, footwear, and other factors which may be related to plantar fasciitis. In most cases, further tests won’t be necessary for a diagnosis.
Once a chiropodist has determined that plantar fasciitis is the cause of your symptoms, you’ll likely be recommended one or more of several treatments.
For example, your chiropodist may suggest:
- Stretching, including stretching the hamstrings, calves, ankles, and the plantar fascia itself
- New footwear, particularly if you are an athlete wearing worn-out shoes without arch support
- Orthotics for increased support
- Weight loss
- Ice to reduce pain and swelling
- Anti-inflammatory medication, which can be purchased over the counter and will help to reduce the pain and swelling associated with plantar fasciitis
- Steroid injections in severe cases where relief cannot be found with other medications or treatment.
Good news! It’s possible to achieve complete relief from plantar fasciitis. So don’t hesitate to contact a professional as you explore at-home treatment options and lifestyle changes to alleviate plantar fasciitis pain.