Healthy Heels – Taking care of Plantar Fasciitis

If  you woke up this morning and instead of jumping out of bed and landing on your feet, as you did yesterday,  you find yourself cringing as your heels touch the floor,  you’ve likely got yourself a dose of Plantar Fasciitis.  Also called jogger’s heel,  Plantar Fasciitis is a condition affecting the heel and sole of the foot.  With more than 10% of people suffering from plantar fasciitis at some point during their lifetime, it is the most common cause of heel pain, A diagnosis of plantar fasciitis basically means you have  inflammation of the tough, fibrous band of tissue (fascia) connecting your heel bone to the base of your toes.

Although people at any age are susceptible to this condition, you are far more likely to develop the Plantar Fasciitis if you are:

  • female
  • overweight
  • or have a job that requires standing on hard surfaces or a lot of walking.

Activities such as long-distance running, ballet dancing and aerobics can contribute to an earlier onset of plantar fasciitis even without other risk factors involved. for plantar fasciitis include excessive running, standing on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time. People with very flat feet or very high arches also are more prone to plantar fasciitis, and if you have very tight calf muscles that limit how far you can flex your ankles, you’re also at risk.

This condition typically starts gradually with mild pain at the heel bone, often referred to as a stone bruise. You probably won’t feel it  during exercising, as it typically comes on once the activity has ended. The most sever pain is usually felt upon getting up in the morning and after a long periods of sitting.

While many people may find their heals do heal on their own with time,  if you don’t treat plantar fasciitis, it may become a chronic condition and you run the risk of developing other foot, knee, hip or back problems from compensation, which causes these secondary conditions to crop up.

There is no single, straightforward, one-size-fits-all treatment plan that for this condition. Rather,  your doctor or podiatrist may recommend one or more of the following for your treatment:

  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
  • Specific routines of stretching for the foot and lower leg/calf muscles.
  • You may be advised to use shoes with shock-absorbing soles or try wearing  a shoe insert device like a rubber heel pad.
  • A positional splint when you sleep. designed to position and maintain the ankle in a neutral position, thus passively stretching the calf and plantar fascia overnight during sleep.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
  • If you still have symptoms, you may need to wear a walking cast for two to three weeks.

The good news is that around 90% of plantar fasciitis cases will improve within six months with mild treatment, and within a year regardless of treatment.  Doctors will only suggest surgery for people who still have pain after trying other treatments for 6 to 12 months.

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