Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain in the heel. On the bottom of your foot is a thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia. When it becomes inflamed, this can result in a stabbing pain, especially when you go to walk right away after waking up. This is a relatively common condition, especially among people who are overweight, wear unsupportive shoes and those who run.
Small tears in the fascia result in this condition. This can result from tension, such as repeated stretching of the plantar fascia. There are certain factors that increase your risk, including:
- Being between 40 and 60 years old
- Having a very high arch or flat feet
- Working on your feet a lot
- Exercise that puts a lot of stress on your feet, such as dancing and running
- Being obese
This condition causes pain near your heel at the bottom of your foot. While it tends to get better throughout the day, if you stand for a long period of time, the pain can intensify. During exercise, the pain may subside, but worsen once you are done working out.
A physical examination and medical history are generally enough to get a diagnosis. Your doctor will also examine your foot. In addition, the imaging tests may help to rule out other possible causes of your pain.
With conservative treatment, most people will recover from this condition within several months. The conservative treatments include:
- Medications that alleviate both inflammation and pain, such as naproxen and ibuprofen
- Night splits to gently stretch your arch and calf as you sleep
- Physical therapy to stretch your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia
- Orthotics to ensure an even distribution of pressure for your feet
In some cases, these treatments are not enough, so certain procedures could be recommended, such as:
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy to stimulate the healing process in cases of chronic plantar fasciitis
- Surgery to detach the heel bone and plantar fascia if pain is very severe and not responding to other treatments
- Injections of steroids to reduce the inflammation
- Ultrasonic tissue repair to break up damaged tissue in the plantar fascia
If you are having pain in your plantar fascia, it is important to see a doctor. There are treatments that can help to calm the inflammation to reduce your discomfort.