Since your feet are such a pivotal part of your mobility, any time something is amiss with them, it can leave you troubled and uncomfortable. Heel pain is a common problem, and it can have many causes. One of the most likely sources of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. If you've been struggling with sharp pain in your feet when you walk or stretch your foot, you may want to talk with a podiatrist about plantar fasciitis. Here's a look at what it is and what you can do about it.
Understanding Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a band of tissue called the plantar fascia. This tissue stretches across the bottom of your foot from the edge of your heel to your toes. When this tissue becomes inflamed, it leads to sharp pain along your heel and the under-side of your foot. In most cases, the pain is worst first thing in the morning or after you've been sitting for a long time.
Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis
In most cases, a podiatrist in your area will be able to diagnose plantar fasciitis simply from your symptoms and a few basic questions. You may need to have an x-ray done to eliminate the possibility of a bone spur, but there are no invasive tests required.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Most people will recover completely over the course of a few months, provided that they treat plantar fasciitis properly. There are several things that can help to ease symptoms and encourage healing.
Your podiatrist will probably recommend that you take ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory medication while you are experiencing pain and discomfort.
A physical therapist can recommend a series of stretches and exercises that will help you loosen up the tissue and strengthen the muscles in your lower leg. As you stretch the plantar fascia, it will make it a bit more flexible and help ease the tension and pain.
Hard splints and athletic tape are often recommended by podiatrists for keeping the plantar fascia stretched out overnight. This will keep the tissue from binding and becoming tight while you sleep. Since this binding and tightness are key sources of the early morning pain you can experience, splints are often a beneficial source of therapy.
Once you have received a full diagnosis of plantar fasciitis, your podiatrist will probably want to see you for evaluation after a few weeks. Make sure that you follow your therapy plan and do the recommended stretches. With the tips presented here, you should be able to identify the potential for plantar fasciitis pain in your heel and know when to call the doctor.