Plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of a plantar fascia, is one among a host of ailments causing heel pain at the time of foot injury. Some possible causes for this condition include arch strain from flat feet. Nerve compression from the unnatural shape of the foot, resulting in abnormal pressure on the nerve roots that pass through the plantar fascia. Heel fractures due to a stress fracture of the calcaneum. Other possible causes of heel pain in a patient may be an altered balance, diabetes mellitus, or surgery involving the bones of the foot.
The usual treatment of plantar fasciitis consists of physical therapy, night splints, and anti-inflammatory medication. Exercises to stretch out the fascia are done nightly. Night splints are another treatment where a strap is placed inside the shoe and worn during the night. The strap pulls at the plantar fascia, stretching it to loosen it. Night splints are effective if tightness is the primary cause of your heel pain.
Ice may help with the inflammation of the tissues surrounding the heel and ankle. If the inflammation is severe and does not respond to the first three treatments, several times a day should be enough. Your podiatrist may also prescribe topical creams to apply to the painful areas.
The podiatrist will prescribe orthotics to treat symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Orthotics are foot inserts that are either gel-like or plastic. They are used to treat problems associated with the structural alignment of the foot. They work by keeping the foot in a natural arch. If you find that wearing shoes is painful, you should invest in a good pair. They can also prevent you from suffering from long periods of standing, which could lead to further stress on the fascia.
You can get pain relief through weight-bearing exercises. If your job requires you to stand for long periods of time, you should try to purchase flat shoes. They are easier to walk around with and provide better support for your feet. Some people even use an orthotic after a period of time, in order to increase their range of motion so they can stand with a bit more ease.
Plantar fasciitis responds well to treatments that focus on stretching, ice, and prescription orthotics. These treatments are most effective if you commit to doing them for the long term. After treatment, always make sure you keep your feet properly aligned. This will prevent re-injuries as well as keep your fascia healthy.