If every step hurts your heels, would you want to walk around? Most people do what they can to avoid activities that cause them harsh discomfort. That is why heel pain from plantar fasciitis can be a huge interruption for your life. The pain makes it difficult to function normally. Letting the problem worsen makes it harder to eliminate, too.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
You have tough, fibrous bands of tissue called ligaments that help hold bones together. In your feet, you have a long one called the plantar fascia that stretches from your heel bone to your toes. It helps protect the sole of your foot and maintains your arch shape. It stretches slightly whenever you take a step to help with shock absorption, too. However, this tissue can become strained and overloaded. The ligament swells and tightens, causing it to pull painfully on the heel bone. This irritation is called plantar fasciitis.
Typically you feel a sharp, stabbing, pain underneath your heel, especially when you put pressure it. The pain is often worse the longer you stand, and is somewhat relieved when you rest. The condition is generally the most painful in the morning, or after spending many hours sitting. This is because the tissue tightens up while you rest. Then, when you try to use that foot again, your ligament is forcibly stretched out. It may even develop micro-tears.
Many different issues lead to plantar fasciitis. Anything that puts strain on the midfoot can be a source of the problem. The condition is an overuse injury, so poor training routines and sudden changes in your exercise program often trigger it. Worn out or poorly fitting shoes are other common culprits. Weight gain, tight Achilles tendons, and low or falling arches can add to the stress on the midfoot and contribute to the discomfort as well. Since this is an overuse injury, you do need to invest in your foot care to find any relief from the pain.
How Can You Treat It?
Plantar fasciitis is easy to manage if the condition is caught and addressed early. On the other hand, the longer the problem is allowed to linger, the tighter and stiffer your ligament becomes. Dr. Darren Silvester will need to examine your feet and ankles to accurately diagnose your condition and its extent. Our team will use various tests and diagnostic images to rule out other possible causes of your discomfort. Then we will help you determine the best course of treatment to reduce your pain and restore your heel’s health.
Like most overuse injuries, you will need to rest your foot to allow it to heal. This may mean decreasing or taking a break from your activities so that you don’t continue to strain your plantar fascia. This is particularly important if you participate in hard-impact activities, like running. You’ll also need to take steps to reduce inflammation and irritation in your heel. Icing the foot helps with this, and decreases swelling in the tissues as well.
Stretching the feet regularly forces your ligament to loosen, so it doesn’t pull painfully on your bone. In addition, night splints help keep your tissue from tightening as you sleep. You may need to change your shoes or add orthotics to be sure your foot has enough support. That way your lower limbs are able to absorb shock efficiently and manage the pressure on your heels. If these conservative measures are not working, you may need other procedures to relieve your plantar fasciitis. Sometimes direct injections of anti-inflammatory medication can help. Only rarely does anyone need surgery to release your ligament and reduce the pressure on your heel bone.
- His aggressive treatment in using the most conservative methods, as well as cost, had me 95% pain-free in one month of treatment.
If you’re struggling with sharp heel pain, especially when you’re active or first get up in the morning, you may have developed plantar fasciitis. This common problem doesn’t have to keep you sitting down, however. There are ways you can manage and eliminate the condition. Request more information or an appointment from Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic here in Universal City or Pleasanton, TX before your condition becomes chronic. Call 210.375.3318.