You wake up in the morning, ready to face the day ahead. You sit up, stretch in bed, and stand up to take a walk to the shower – then it hits you. You suddenly feel a sharp, stabbing, burning pain on the heel at the bottom of your foot.
This pain is likely Plantar Fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain. Around 10 percent of people will suffer from Plantar Fasciitis in their lifetime, especially runners and those who are on their feet all day, every day (frontline heroes, we’re looking at you!). It most commonly shows up during those first few steps after getting up in the morning – while you sleep, the Plantar Fascia shortens, and when you stand up out of bed, the inflamed or torn fibers of the Plantar Fascia are stretched, which causes pain. This pain may diminish once the foot limbers up, but it could return throughout your day after climbing stairs, periods of standing, getting up from a seated position, or when you work out. The good news? Southlake Orthopaedics can help get rid of this pain, not just intermittently, but for good.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
It is an irritation or inflammation of the band of tough tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes. It supports the arch of your foot by stretching slightly when you step down, and then shortens back to maintain the arch and support your weight as you walk. Plantar Fasciitis happens when the strong band of ligaments that support the arch of your foot become irritated and swollen. This is generally caused by small tears or the overstretching of the Plantar Fascia.
What causes it?
Though the Plantar Fascia is made to absorb weight and the stresses we put on our feet, sometimes too much pressure damages or tears the tissue. The body’s natural response to injury is inflammation, which accounts for the heel pain and stiffness you feel. In addition to running and standing for long periods of time throughout the day, other risk factors for Plantar Fasciitis include obesity, tighter calf muscles, having a very high arch on your foot, and new and increased physical activity. Also, if there is excessive pronation – when your feet roll inward while standing or walking – there is also a greater risk for Plantar Fasciitis.
To add insult to injury, you may develop heel spurs in conjunction with your Plantar Fasciitis – these are your body’s way of trying to strengthen the area, but typically heel spurs only add to the problem and make the situation even more painful.
We encourage you to first try home remedies like calf and Plantar Fascia stretches – especially before taking that critical first step out of bed in the morning. Also, buying different shoes, shoe inserts, and compression socks can also be useful in the fight against this painful condition. Give your feet a rest for a while and try to not run or walk on hard surfaces. Ice your foot for 10 to 15 minutes after exercising and take anti-inflammatory medicine, like aspirin or ibuprofen. Firmly pressing on and rolling a tennis ball under your foot is a good way to get a deep massage.
However, if your pain persists for months, it’s time to give our team of experienced orthopaedic specialists a call. At-home remedies might provide you immediate pain relief, but we can help you get to the root of the underlying issue.
How we can help
If home remedies are not providing you the relief you deserve, it’s time to seek out the Southlake Orthopaedics team. We will perform a physical exam, X-rays, and other imaging tests to correctly diagnose you with Plantar Fasciitis. The good news is many patients improve within mere months of treatment, meaning you can be back on your feet in no time.
After we correctly diagnose you with Plantar Fasciitis (as opposed to a fracture or arthritis, for example), treatment options may include physical therapy and/or special prescription orthotics. If after about 12 months of aggressive nonsurgical treatment yields no relief for you, surgery may be the next step.
The bottom line
At Southlake Orthopaedics, we can help you with your Plantar Fasciitis pain. We’ll use a combination of solutions to tackle the problem from every angle, helping your tissue heal quickly, relieving your pain, and – most importantly – helping you regain full mobility to maximize your quality of life.