Do you experience stabbing heel pain when you take your first steps in the morning? Then you might be enduring Plantar fasciitis. When the strong band of tissue that supports your foot's arch becomes inflamed and irritated, it is known as plantar fasciitis. Therapies, lifestyle changes, home remedies, and medical interventions can help treat and alleviate heel pain on walking.
What causes heel pain?
The plantar fascia is designed to absorb the significant stresses and strains we put on our feet every day. However, excessive pressure might harm or tear the tissues. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that develops as a result of the body's natural reaction to injury, resulting in heel pain and stiffness.
Excessive pressure is the primary heel pain cause, that can occur due to several reasons such as-
- Continuous strenuous activity such as running or sports
- Sudden increase in regular activity
- Tight calf muscles, which make it difficult to flex the foot
- Professions that require standing for long durations, such as surgeons, guards, or waiters
What are the signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Severe foot pain around the heel.
- Pain in the curve of the foot.
- Severe discomfort in the morning subsides typically as you move around. However, the foot pain may return after long durations of standing or when you stand up after a long period of sitting.
- Pain worsens after completing physical exercise or activity sessions.
- Pain that lasts for months.
- Stiff Achilles tendon. The calf muscles are connected to the heels via the Achilles tendon.
How to treat plantar fasciitis?
Most people recover in a couple of months with conservative treatment methods such as:
To relieve discomfort, your physical therapist or doctor may suggest particular stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as the usage of certain equipment. They include:
- Physical Therapy - A therapist will show you how to stretch the calf and arch of your foot. These stretches will also help to strengthen the lower leg muscles. Your therapist may also show you how to use athletic tape to support the bottom of the foot.
- Night splints - This device promotes stretching by keeping the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight.-
- Orthotics - These are over-the-counter, or custom-fitted arch supports that help distribute pressure evenly across your feet.
Your doctor might prescribe some pain reliever to ease the heel pain on walking and inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis.
Your doctor may suggest surgical or other procedures if conservative methods fail to provide relief. These include-
- Injections: Injecting steroids into the sensitive area for temporary pain relief.
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy: Sound waves focus on the heel pain region in the foot to promote healing.
- Surgery: Surgery is required only when other therapies have failed, and the pain is severe. It can be done as an open surgery or with a local anesthetic through a tiny incision.
Simple home remedies can help in increasing flexibility and strengthening the foot muscles and ligaments.
- Maintain a healthy weight to relieve plantar fascia stress.
- Wear supportive shoes with a low to moderate heel, thick soles, strong arch support, and additional cushioning. Avoid walking barefoot.
- Replace worn-out sporting shoes that do not provide adequate foot support and cushioning.
- Choose a low-impact sport like swimming or bicycling.
- Try cold therapy to relieve pain and inflammation. Apply ice wrapped in a cloth or an ice pack to the painful area three or four times a day for 15 minutes.
- Restrict strenuous physical activity, including prolonged standing.
Overlooking plantar fasciitis can lead to persistent heel pain that may impact your daily tasks. To heal plantar fasciitis and alleviate heel pain, incorporate simple lifestyle changes and home remedies. Consult your doctor and begin conventional treatment if the pain worsens, such as physical therapy or medication. Surgery is recommended in rare cases.