Everyone has experienced their feet hurting, whether from a long day at work or a day at the amusement park. But some pain goes beyond general soreness into severe or even debilitating. When that happens, you’ll want to work with a College Park chiropractor to determine the exact cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan. One common culprit is plantar fasciitis, when the arch of your foot is inflamed or damaged. If you suspect this could be contributing to your foot pain, keep reading to understand how to identify and treat this condition.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that lies directly beneath the skin of your foot. It can be found on the underside of your arch, connecting your heel with the front of your foot and providing support. When this tissue is inflamed or otherwise irritated, it can cause pain, especially when walking.
Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners, people who are overweight, or people who wear shoes with inadequate support while walking. The plantar fascia is designed to absorb the strain on our feet, but too much pressure can damage or tear the tissue. The body naturally responds to this through inflammation and stiffness.
Many people with plantar fasciitis are also at risk for heel spurs, so they are often confused. The two can happen at the same time but are not related conditions.
Signs of Plantar Fasciitis
The primary symptom of plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. The pain usually is worst in the morning when you take your first steps and subsides throughout the day. This cycle can begin any time you have been sitting for an extended period and stand up again. Pain from plantar fasciitis is not usually worse during exercise, running, or walking, but after the fact.
Some other signs that point to the condition include the following:
- A high arch
- Tenderness on the bottom of your heel
- Pain that worsens when you flex your foot and improves when you point your toes
- Limited upward ankle motion
Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis
When you visit a College Park chiropractor for foot pain, they will begin by asking you questions about your symptoms and medical history. Based on this and some quick physical examinations, a doctor can usually determine that plantar fasciitis is present. If they are unsure or want to rule out other issues causing the foot pain, you may be sent for diagnostic imaging.
An X-ray may show a heel spur or a fracture, the injuries most commonly confused for plantar fasciitis. In rare cases, or if the pain is not relieved by treatment, your doctor may request an MRI to determine what is happening inside of the foot.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
The vast majority, over 90%, of patients with plantar fasciitis will improve within ten months of undergoing simple treatment. In these cases, surgery and other interventions are usually not needed.
The primary treatment for plantar fasciitis is rest- stopping the activities causing you pain, or decreasing them when stopping is not possible. This takes the pressure off your foot and allows the ligament time to heal. You may also ice the area to relieve pain and encourage recovery- doctors often recommend you roll your foot over a frozen water bottle for 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.
Over-the-counter pain medication may be advised in order to help you carry out normal daily activities, though it should not be used for more than a month. Ibuprofen has anti-inflammatory properties that make it the best option. Severe cases may require prescription pain medicine or cortisone injections.
While rest is important, after the initial injury occurs, there are gentle exercises you can do to encourage healing. Tight muscles in the feet and calves aggravate plantar fasciitis, and stretching these muscles can be helpful.
Preventing Plantar Fasciitis
If you are a runner or otherwise at-risk person, there are ways to avoid this problem before it occurs. If you’ve suffered from plantar fasciitis before, you will want to avoid it in the future.
The primary way to prevent plantar fasciitis is to be conscious of your shoe choices. Wear shoes with thick soles, extra cushioning, and arch support, especially if you are running or walking a long distance. This relieves tension in the foot and reduces your risk. You can also invest in night splints or practice physical therapy if you are concerned about your feet.
If you think you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis, contact AICA College Park today to begin treatment.