If stabbing heel pain and stiffness seem to greet you many mornings and drop in again during the day, you are far from being alone. These are frequent signs of plantar fasciitis, one of the most common sources of foot pain. It can happen to a variety of people for different reasons, but thankfully there are several options available for finding relief.
How Does Plantar Fasciitis Happen?
The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs beneath the arch of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. This band is made to support your arch and absorbs the shocks of everyday motion, but it can become strained or overstretched. When this happens, tiny tears can form in the band and it can become weaker, swollen, and inflamed.
Almost anyone can be susceptible to plantar fasciitis. However, men and those between the ages of 40 and 60 tend to be most likely to suffer from it. Any sort of circumstances that places extra or abnormal stress on the arches can increase the risk of developing this problem. This includes obesity and pregnancy, having naturally high arches or flat feet, having tight calf muscles or Achilles tendons, or wearing shoes that do not properly support your feet. People who engage in activities that highly impact the feet, such as running and dancing, or who work long hours standing on hard surfaces also commonly develop inflammation of this tissue.
What Are the Symptoms?
One of the most frequent symptoms of the condition is stiffness and sharp pain in the heel or bottom of the foot upon rising in the morning. One or both feet can be affected. The first few steps each day are often the worst, with the pain gradually lessening as the plantar fascia has a chance to loosen up. The pain can flare up again, however, after periods of standing, sitting, or other inactivity. Climbing stairs may also increase the discomfort.
How is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?
The most effective treatments for your fasciitis will likely depend on the factors contributing to your condition. Dr. Harvey Danciger, DPM, will perform a full evaluation of your feet, symptoms, and history to narrow in on the specific causes of your pain and recommend the best methods for finding relief. Rest and anti-inflammatory medications are part of most treatment plans to help reduce pain and swelling, but other options include:
- Laser treatments to reduce inflammation and promote healing
- Night splints to stretch your calves and arches while you sleep
- Stretches and exercises to strengthen the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, and lower leg muscles
- Orthotics to correct foot abnormalities and redistribute weight on the arches
- Corticosteroid applications or injections to provide temporary pain relief
In most cases, people will recover from their foot pain within several months of conservative treatments. However, if pain remains severe and other methods fail to provide relief, surgery may then become an option.
If heel pain is keeping you from wanting to get out of bed in the morning, don’t stand for it anymore! Let Dr. Harvey Danciger, DPM, and his expert staff help you on the way to pain-free feet. Schedule an appointment at his Palm Desert, CA, office by calling (760) 568-0108 or using our online form.