September 03, 2015

Plantar Fasciitis – Dealing with Heel Pain in 7 Easy Steps

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common, but painful of the running maladies. In short, the plantar fascia ligaments connect the heel bone (calcaneus) to the forefoot (metatarsal bones). When these ligaments are stretched, they can begin to pull away from the heel bone, creating tears. These tears are the cause of the pain. So let’s take a deeper look at what’s causing this foot pain.

1. Good morning, sunshine

The number one sign that you have plantar fasciitis is that it is usually worse the in the morning, as in a stabbing pain in the heel when you first step out of bed onto the floor. It often comes on with little or no warning, and can be excruciatingly painful.

2. Misery loves company

You shouldn’t feel too bad, as you are in good company. It is estimated that there are 3 million reported cases of plantar fasciitis each year, with many more cases going unreported. It is unusual to encounter a runner who hasn’t experienced at least a mild case.

3. Physician heal thyself

Plantar fasciitis can usually can be self-diagnosed and treated at home. However, many people mistakenly believe that they have heel spurs, as the pain feels like there is something sharp poking them in the heel, leading them to seek medical treatment from a doctor.

4. Why me?

You can probably blame your parents for this one, as having high arches is a leading cause of plantar fasciitis, and both men and women are susceptible. Other causes include being overweight or obese, being a long distance runner, or using improper footwear. While upgrading your running shoes can help, it usually doesn’t cure the problem. Also, it may be the shoes you are wearing when you are not exercising is what is causing the trouble.

5. How can I go on?

Progressive treatment is usually prescribed. NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen, are commonly used to deal with the pain and inflammation, and ice can be used initially to reduce swelling and also to reduce pain. A good trick for massaging out the knots in the fascia is to roll a golf ball 20 minutes each day with each foot. However, for chronic cases of plantar fasciitis, arch supports, gel insoles, or running orthotics can bring about long term relief. Only in the most extreme cases is surgery required. If you are a runner, you can probably continue to run, so long as it does not affect your stride.

6. What’s the worst that could happen?

The good news is that plantar fasciitis hurts a lot more than it does damage. But, compensation injuries – injuries caused to other body parts due to limping, favoring, etc. can occur. Over time, however, heel spurs can develop if plantar fasciitis is left unchecked. 

7. Is it all about the shoes?

Contrary to what Spike Lee once said about Michael Jordan, it’s not the shoes. Many people buy pair after pair of shoes, trying to find something to cure their plantar fasciitis. However, shoes are generally not corrective in nature. You will probably need to add some form of shoe inserts to deal with this problem. Also, sport sandals may help when you are not wearing your running shoes, as well as inserts for your dress shoes, high heels, etc.

So there you have it. There are many sources of information on all aspects of plantar fasciitis on the web, but hopefully this article gives you a pretty good idea about what may be going on with your heel pain and what you can do about it. Make sure to check back to the blog page often, as new and informative articles are constantly being added.

StrideTek is manufacturer of high performance footgear including a patented orthotic insole and flip flop sandal that encourages proper biomechanics throughout the stride gait, reducing and eliminating pain from plantar fasciitis, shin splints, high arches, and many other foot issues.