If you have heel pain, there’s a good chance you have plantar fasciitis. This condition, the most common cause of heel pain, occurs when the plantar fascia, the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, becomes irritated. Tiny tears can develop in the fascia, especially near where it attaches to the heel bone. This causes pain, particularly a stabbing pain when you first step out of bed in the morning. What do you need to know about the causes and treatments for plantar fasciitis? Below are answered the top five questions patients ask (or should be asking):
- What Are the Most Common Causes of Plantar Fasciitis?
Most often, plantar fasciitis isn’t brought on by a single event, but rather by a long-term habit. Going barefoot, working for hours on your feet, gaining weight, wearing high heels or even just getting older can all increase your likelihood of getting plantar fasciitis, but few people ever pinpoint one specific cause.
- Will Plantar Fasciitis Ever Go Away on Its Own?
If your plantar fasciitis is mild, you may be able to just rest it for a while and see your symptoms subside. But since rest isn’t a long-term solution — you need to be able to walk, work and exercise — it can’t be seen as a long-term solution.
- Are There Any Mild Steps I Can Take to Reduce the Pain?
Some doctors recommend taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen to deal with the immediate pain. And if your plantar fasciitis is mild, then some simple stretching and strengthening may alleviate the problem in the long run. Try putting a golf ball or tennis ball on the ground and then working the arch of your foot over it to massage and stretch the area, and ask a doctor or physical therapist for some good foot-strengthening exercises.
- Should I Be Wearing Orthotic Shoe Inserts?
There are mixed opinions regarding orthotics, but they may indeed help some people with plantar fasciitis by providing additional support to the arch of the foot. If you do decide to try orthotics, you should get ones fitted by your local podiatrist (foot and ankle doctor), rather than just grabbing generic insoles off the shelf at your corner drugstore; the latter are really just padding, and won’t correct structural and biomechanical issues with your feet and gait, which custom orthotics can.
- What About Shockwave Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis?
If your plantar fasciitis is severe and more conservative treatments aren’t working, your doctor may recommend shockwave treatment for plantar fasciitis. This procedure introduces shock waves to the tissue, creating focused trauma so that the body’s natural healing response kicks in and repairs all the damage to the tissue. The treatment can be moderately painful, which is why most doctors try other treatments first.
Are you currently looking for a more moderate treatment, or are you ready to try shockwave treatment for plantar fasciitis? Discuss your experience in the comments.