How does plantar fasciitis feel?
We have been – sadly – accustomed to take pretty much all our body parts for granted. Usually, the only way that we notice some of them and the fact that we are mistreating them in some way, is when they start to hurt or make us feel some sort of discomfort. One of our body parts that do a lot of work day after day, but about which we seem to forget over and over, is our feet.
Basically, they support our body weight, our steps and jumps, and the weight of all we carry. That, not to mention the extra effort of working in uncomfortable situations, like ladies using high heels.
When we make our feet undertake too much stress, we could experience a painful condition called plantar fasciitis. This not quite uncommon affection of one or both feet is experienced as throbbing pain of variable intensity on our sole.
This pain has a few characteristic properties. In example, it’s usually more intense in the morning or after we have spent quite a long time without standing or walking. The pain responds better to ice packs than heat, and if this condition isn’t cured, the affected person can later develop a worse stage called heel spur.
Causes of plantar fasciitis
The overall cause of this condition is the mechanical overload of the plantar fascia, which is the soft tissue of the sole of feet. When these fibers take too much pressure, they start to slowly rip apart causing a painful inflammation.
There are several reasons why our plantar fascia can be overloaded. Some of them are as follow:
· Bad foot shape. The structure of the foot is designed to properly support the body weight. A foot arch too high or too low, or ankles that aren’t aligned with the shines – such as in foot pronation – aren’t adequate to this function, and the plantar fascia become damaged.
· Running or walking on hard surfaces. The harder a surface is, the harder the feet hit it when we walk or run, and therefore the more our feet tissue wears off. Plantar fasciitis is actually quite common in runners.
· Standing many hours a day. Another way to overload your feet is to stand for too long without letting them rest. Police officers, salespeople and other people who stand for many hours a day are more likely to suffer from plantar fasciitis.
· Overweight. Plantar fasciitis is sometimes caused by weight gain or overweight, because the feet make a bigger effort to support all our body weight, and this harms the tissue.
In some cases, plantar fasciitis can be developed without any of these risk factors. However, each one of them add up to make you more vulnerable to this condition. Therefore, if you experience pain with first steps in the morning, or some other sort of throbbing pain on your sole that matches the description of plantar fasciitis, make yourself some time to go to the doctor and get it checked. Luckily, plantar fasciitis can be cured with little medical intervention, but if you don’t listen to the signs and do something about it, this condition might worsen to the point that it becomes difficult to walk or even stand. Also, untreated plantar fasciitis can also lead to heel spur and other painful conditions of the feet.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis
The plantar fascia naturally regenerate and heal themselves. This means that, in order to be relieved from these conditions, you don’t need to take any medication or surgery, unless your case is too severe.
You can take some measures to ease the mechanical stress on your feet and allow them to heal themselves. Here are some of them, but remember, if you are experiencing pain, you should go see a doctor to get some medical information and make sure everything is alright.
- Do some stretching and exercises. Special stretching is useful to add flexibility to the plantar fascia, and foot exercises will strengthen them. A combination of these two will turn your fascia more capable of taking the pressure.
- Take some time out from running. Run less time a week and always choose soft surfaces, that will give your feet a rest.
- Add more support to your foot arch. Implement some taping of the foot to help the arch stay in place, or use orthotic insoles to hold the arch. You don’t need custom insoles for this, regular off-the-shelf insoles will do.
- Apply cold. Ice packages are good to reduce inflammation and therefore help relieve the pain. Many short applications are better than one long application. Use cold three times a day.