If you are experiencing pain in the heel of your foot, then you may be suffering from a condition known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis affects the ligament at the bottom of the foot which connects the heel bone to the toes. This flat band of tissue supports the arch of the foot and is referred to as the plantar fascia.
If this ligament is strained, it can become inflamed, swollen and weak. As a result, standing and walking can cause pain in the heel or the bottom of the foot. This condition is fairly common in middle-aged individuals, but younger people who are on their feet a lot can also develop plantar fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis Causes
There are several factors that can cause plantar fasciitis. The following are some common risk factors that can lead to this condition.
- Rolling your feet inward while walking or running
- Having high arches or flat feet
- Walking, standing or running for an extended period of time
- Being overweight, as this puts additional pressure on the plantar fascia ligaments
- Wearing tight or worn out shoes that do not fit properly
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The most common symptom associated with plantar fasciitis is heel pain. Be aware of heel pain experienced when you first get out of bed in the morning or after being inactive, as this is often a sign of plantar fasciitis. Other symptoms include:
- Pain that increases when climbing stairs or standing on your toes.
- Pain experienced after standing for long periods.
- Pain felt at the start of exercise which decreases or goes away during activity, but then returns once you have stopped exercising.
Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis
If you are experiencing persistent foot or heel pain, then you should seek the medical advice of an Austin-area physician. Even if you think it may be nothing, a medical pain specialist can offer advice or provide an at-home treatment plan to help you decrease any pain or discomfort sooner rather than later.
The main goals of plantar fasciitis treatment include:
- Reducing pain and inflammation of the heel
- Letting small tears that may exist in the plantar fascia ligament heal properly
- Increasing strength and flexibility to help correct the inward roll of the foot while walking or running. This is referred to as “pronation”.
Giving your feet a break or reducing activities that worsen symptoms (at least until you have time to recover) is often the best place to start. During this time, you should also try to avoid walking or running on hard surfaces like concrete. Wearing shoes that have the right arch support for your foot (and good shock absorption) is also important. Keep this in mind when buying your next pair of running shoes.
Stretching can also be helpful. A series of towel stretches, toe stretches and calf stretches can all be done to help strengthen your feet. Anti-inflammatory medications can also help reduce painful symptoms as you recover.
Schedule a Consultation at the Diagnostic Pain Center in Austin
Starting treatment early on when you first begin to notice symptoms is generally more successful and takes less time than if treatment is delayed. If you’re experiencing persistent foot pain, especially during your first steps after waking, then you likely have plantar fasciitis to some degree. Don’t wait for the problem to get worse, contact an Austin pain doctor to get started with an individualized treatment plan. We help patients get rid of pain faster so that they can get back to doing what they love sooner! Call (512) 981-7246 now.