Heel Pain Treatment / Plantar Fasciitis
When someone says to “be on your toes,” they’re likely referring to being ready for something. But you may not be ready for the discomfort on the flip side of the foot: plantar fasciitis, also known as heel pain. If you’re experiencing excess pain in your feet, that may be the reason.
Heel Pain / Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
Plantar fasciitis starts with slight pain under the heel when standing. It usually peaks in the early morning, immediately after getting out of bed. Usually, the pain subsides once out and about. As plantar fasciitis worsens, your gait changes. This change extends to posture and motion, and can prove quite noticeable. Other joints, such as in the hips and knees, also fall prey to pain over time.
What you will find here:
- Why Do I Feel Heel Pain?
- What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
- What Causes of Heel Pain / Plantar Fasciitis?
- How do I know I have plantar fasciitis?
- Heel and arch pain treatment
- Home remedies for plantar fasciitis
- Foot heel professional pain treatment
- Birmingham Podiatry: Foot Specialists of Birmingham
Why Do I Feel Heel Pain?
- Plantar fasciitis - it is a severe inflammation of the plantar fascia (arch on the bottom of the foot). It results in pain in the heel and bottom of the foot that is usually most painful when first taking steps in the morning or after a period of rest.
- Achilles tendonitis - a painful inflammation, irritation, and swelling of the Achilles tendon (the tendon that connects the muscles of the calf to the heel).
- Strains or sprains - usually happens when you have been more physically active, but your body wasn’t prepared for the stress.
- Fracture/Broken heel bone - you will recognize this by intense pain when the fracture occurs. The pain can be so severe that some people can pass out of it.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. This painful condition is usually caused by overuse of the plantar fascia. The pain typically worsens after standing or after getting up from prolonged sitting. That’s why many people with plantar fasciitis feel pain after waking up.
Usually only one foot is affected, but sometimes it can affect both.
In most cases it develops gradually, so the pain won’t appear out of nowhere. Some people feel a sharp pain, but with others it’s more of a dull sensation.
You won’t feel the pain during activities. Usually the pain comes after stopping with activities.
What Causes of Heel Pain / Plantar Fasciitis?
Your plantar fascia is a broad band of tissue that runs from the bottom of the heel to the base of your toes. The plantar fascia serves as an arch support for the feet and helps absorb shock when we walk. If tension or stress becomes too great, small tears can be caused in this tendon-like band of tissue.
Sources for plantar fascia inflammation could include:
- Rigid or taut calf muscles;
- More pronounced physical activity;
- Spontaneous and rapid turns on your feet;
- Shoes that provide little arch support;
- Soft-soled shoes;
- And sudden changes in shoe type.
At times, bone spurs and plantar fasciitis can both be present on the foot. While their timing may coincide, bone spurs rarely cause the lion’s share of pain, if any at all. Plantar fasciitis is the likely culprit. Treat it properly—and the bone spur will probably prove benign.
This being said, there are groups of people with higher risk of getting plantar fasciitis:
- Overweight people. The extra weight increases the pressure on the plantar fascia and the pain occurs. This is especially possible when you gain weight quickly.
- Pregnant women, especially during late pregnancy. For the same reason as above.
- People with active jobs - where a lot of walking is involved and you have to stay on your feet often. For example factory workers, nurses, chefs, retail workers.
- Long-distance runners are in the higher-risk category
- People between ages 40 and 60. This is the most common age group to have plantar fasciitis.
How do I know I have plantar fasciitis?
To be sure the cause of pain comes from plantar fasciitis and not something else, it’s best to consult with a foot specialist. The doctor will perform a physical exam and will determine the cause of pain.
Not treating heel pain that stems from plantar fasciitis may lead to chronic pain that interferes with your regular activities. Changing the way you walk to relieve heel pain may lead to foot, knee, hip, or back problems.
And don’t be afraid of the doctor’s exam. They usually involve testing your balance, reflexes, muscle tone and coordination. In some cases the doctor might request an X-ray or MRI just to be sure.
Heel and arch pain treatment
You can start with some home remedies if the pain is mild. But if it feels serious, we advise you to see a professional.
Home remedies for plantar fasciitis
- Rest and stretch. Yes, after resting the heel hurts more, but if overusing is the cause, it’s good to rest. And you can search the web for foot exercises to help you even more.
- Wear the right shoes. Uncomfortable shoes, footwear with bad support, worn out sneakers are bad for you. And don’t walk barefoot. It’s good for your energy, but when you have heel pain you need support. So always choose supportive shoes with thick soles and good arch support.
- Ice is good for the pain. You can put ice for 10 to 20 minutes a few times a day over the pain area.
- Braces or a splint. They will keep your foot in the right position.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs.
Foot heel professional pain treatment
- Corticosteroid injections.
- Doctors can assign physical therapy.
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy. This is most common for people with chronic plantar fasciitis. Sound waves are used to stimulate the healing.
Plantar fasciitis surgery is done only in more severe cases. When the pain continues for months to over a year.
It is usually a last resort for patients who have tried many other pain relievers and treatments without success. Surgery can cause chronic pain and nerve damage, so it should be considered only after other treatments are exhausted.
Podiatry Birmingham: Foot Specialists of Birmingham
When heel pain becomes heightened, you may find relief lacking and a viable treatment option unsure. With our podiatry clinic in Birmingham, AL, you can rely on expert foot treatment that addresses and relieves pain from plantar fasciitis, as well as peace of mind for the future. Make an appointment with us today.