Athletic Trainer Provides Tips on Dealing with Plantar Fasciitis
When people complain about heel pain, I immediately think of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis causes stabbing pain in the heel and is the most common reason for heel pain. While runners usually get it, plantar fasciitis can affect anyone – especially if they wear shoes that lack adequate support.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by the inflammation of a thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia that runs across the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes. The pain is most common in the morning and then tends to wear off during the day although being on your feet for a long period of time can cause its return.
While the heel pain is uncomfortable, it usually goes away within a few months with treatment, including:
- Taking ibuprofen and naproxen can ease the pain and also ease the inflammation.
- Physical therapy exercises that stretch the plantar fasciitis, Achilles’ tendon and lower leg muscles. One simple exercise is standing facing a wall with feet apart. Bend the front leg and keep the back one straight and move your hips forward until you feel your calf stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
- Wearing a splint at night. Your doctor or physical therapist may suggest wearing a splint that stretches your calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep. The splinting facilitates the stretching of the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon.
- Using orthotics in your shoe to cushion your heel or arch supports to evenly distribute pressure to your foot. Your physical therapist or doctor can guide you to the right one.
If conventional treatments don’t work, your doctor may recommend getting a steroid shot or even surgery.
To avoid heel pain, there are a few things you can do including wearing shoes with good support and staying away from high heels, replacing worn-out athletic shoes and changing up your exercise routine by adding swimming or biking instead of always running to eliminate some of the heel pressure.
Dealing with heel pain is not fun, but you should be able to return to your normal activities with proper treatment.
Kayla Pfeiffer is a licensed athletic trainer with ThedaCare Orthopedic Care at ThedaCare Medical Center-New London.