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What is plantar fasciitis



What is plantar fasciitis? What can I do for plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis (plan * tar _ fash * ee * i * tis) is tearing and inflammation of a ligament on the bottom of the foot. "Plantar" refers to the bottom of the foot, the "fascia" is a long ligament-type structure and "itis" means inflammation. Plantar fasciitis is the result of excess stress through the plantar fascia, which causes tearing, inflammation and pain. Plantar fasciitis is also called heel spur syndrome, but a heel spur will rarely causes any pain. The most common symptom is a sharp pain in the heel when first stepping down in the morning. The pain may also extend into the arch and start after stepping out of a car or standing up after finishing a lunch break. Other individuals experience heel pain at the end of their work day or after activities like running, soccer or tennis.

There are many treatments for plantar fasciitis.....

The first step is to identify the cause of the plantar fasciitis. Did the pain start after wearing an old pair of shoes? Did it begin after starting a new job? A new training or running routine? After eliminating the potential cause by switching shoes or activity, avoid other aggravating activities like going up and down stairs or hills. Try to rest for 2-3 weeks and cross train with non-weight bearing activities like biking or swimming.

The most effective treatment for plantar fasciitis is stretching. The more stretching that can be done, the faster the fascia will heal. Stretch the calf multiple times during the day. Stretch in the morning before getting out of bed by taking a band and placing it around your toes. Pull the band towards you, while keeping your knee straight. This will stretch the fascia before you step down in the morning.

Decrease the inflammation by icing your foot in the evenings. Take a sports water bottle and place it in the freezer. Roll your arch over the water bottle for 15-20 minutes for an ice massage.

Add heel cups to your shoes. Heel cups or heel cushions help with shock absorption and decrease the stress through the heel. They will also lift the heel and help take stress off the arch. Heel lifts can lift the heel, adding cushion and decreasing stress through the arch.

Try using orthotics or moldable insoles. An orthotic is a deviced designed to control motion in the foot and support the arch. By controlling motion in the foot, the stress is taken off of the arch and the plantar fascia. A soft, cushy insert will not accomplish this. The device should be rigid and can be purchased at a sports store or try Superfeet or ARCH Molds Heat Moldable Insoles. Prolab orthotics are a more rigid insert and help to control overpronation. Custom orthotics can be made by your podiatrist.

Stretch all night long by using a night splint.
A night splint holds the foot at 90 degrees while you sleep. This keeps the foot and the calf stretched throughout the night accelerating healing.

The Heel Pain Kit, developed by podiatrists and contains a Strassburg Sock to stretch the plantar fascia at night, ARCH Molds Heat Moldable Arch Supports to control motion and take stress off the arch and fascia, a sports water bottle for the ice massage, a band to assists with calf stretches, a book on foot care, Those Aching Feet, which contains the most up to date information on treatment and prevention of heel pain. The kit also comes with a heel pain sheet describing the necessary steps to take to enable you to treat plantar fasciitis.

More Information and illustrations on Plantar Fasciitis.


last updated 7/16/10


Disclaimer: The advice on this website is not intended to substitute for a visit to your health care provider. We will not be held liable for any diagnosis made or treatment recommended. Consult your doctor if you feel you have a medical problem.