Plantar Fasciitis: A Real Pain in the Foot
By Randi Morse
Plantar fasciitis is one of those conditions that, when you get it, you instantly know you have it. It's a severe pain in the foot that's often plaguing runners, hikers and, well, anyone who is on their feet for a significant amount of time during the day. If you work on concrete, or you run on a hard surface, you're at risk for getting plantar fasciitis. But what is plantar fasciitis, and is there any chance of walking without foot pain once you've been diagnosed with it?
What Is It?
The plantar fascia is a ligament in your foot. It travels from the very bottom of the heel bone all the way to the ball at the top of your foot. This ligament supports the arch of your foot. Imagine you have a tight rubber band going from your heel to the ball of your foot. If that rubber band is overly stretched, it can't provide the support that your foot needs. The easiest way to tell that you have plantar fasciitis is when you first get up in the morning. If your first few steps after you get out of bed are excruciatingly painful, but the pain starts to go away after you've walked around for a bit, chances are high that you have plantar fasciitis.
How Do You Fix It?
The bad news is that there's no quick fix for plantar fasciitis. Some people are fortunate and their condition resolves on its own with a bit of rest and some shoes that have more arch support in them. Others, however, have a more stubborn case of the condition and may need more intense treatment and therapy to heal the affected area. It's never a bad idea to visit your physician if you're worried that you have plantar fasciitis, but here are a few other things that you can do which can help stop the pain and start the healing.
- Ice, Ice Baby - Ice is extremely important when you're dealing with plantar fasciitis. Elevating and icing the foot 20 minutes at a time every few days is ideal, especially at the beginning of your injury.
- Anti-inflammatories - Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories are a great option to help relieve the pain, both for the short-term and to bring the swelling down.
- Stretches - There are several stretches that you can do which are ideal at helping strengthen the tendon once the swelling has gone down. My favorite is this: stand straight with the back of a chair in front of you. Hold onto the back of the chair and slowly lift yourself onto your tip toes. Once you feel pain, stop rising and hold yourself there for a few moments, then slowly put your feet back on the ground. Repeat this a few times a day and eventually you'll be able to do it with just the injured foot.
Plantar fasciitis is never a fun diagnosis it receive, but with time, ice and some good stretching you should be pain-free in a few months.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sugar Hill, Ga.