What is plantar fasciitis?

One of the most common causes of heel pain, plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia). This ailment commonly causes stabbing pain that usually at its worst when you first get up in the morning. Once you get to moving around, the pain may subside, but can return if you spend long hours on your feet.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Repeated strain on the ligament that supports your arch can cause tiny tears which can lead to pain and inflammation. You are more likely to get plantar fasciitis if you:

Participate in activities such as long-distance running, jumping activities, ballet dancing and aerobic dance.
Have very flat feet or very high arches.
Roll your feet too much inward when you walk.
Spend most of your working hours walking or standing on hard surfaces.
Are overweight.
Wear shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out.
Have tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles.

How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?

The diagnosis is made based on your medical history and a physical examination. During the exam, your doctor will check for areas of tenderness in your foot. Where your pain is situated can help determine its cause. Your doctor may take an X-ray of your foot if he or she suspects a problem with the bones of your foot.

How do you treat plantar fasciitis?

If you don’t treat plantar fasciitis, it can become a chronic condition. You may not be able to keep up your level of activity, and you may develop pain in the knees, hips, or back because plantar fasciitis can change the way you walk.

While no single treatment works best for everyone with plantar fasciitis, there are many simple things you can try to help your foot get better:

Give your feet a rest and cut back on activities that make your foot hurt.
Do toe stretches and calf stretches several times a day, especially when you first get up in the morning.
Place ice packs on the area of pain for 15 to 20 minutes three or four times a day or after activity
Get a new pair of shoes. Pick shoes with good arch support and a shock absorbancy. Or try shoe inserts (orthotics ), but use them in both shoes, even if only one foot hurts.

If these more-conservative measures aren’t working after several months, your doctor might recommend injections, shock wave therapy, or even surgery.

Here at David Parker Shoes, we help customers nearly every day find supportive, comfortable, and stylish shoes to help alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. AWe also use iStep foot scanning technology to custom fit you with Lyncos orthotics. And even if you don’t have plantar fasciitis, but you spend most of your work day on your feet, we can help you discover the best shoes that may help you prevent getting this painful foot ailment in the first place. And remember, healthy feet are happy feet! 

PHOTO CREDIT: Esther Max, via Flickr Creative Commons. To view source, click here.