In September of 2012, my wife began to experience pain in the heel of her foot. I had known other people that had similar problems and began researching to find out what exactly she had and what could be done to relieve her pain. We found the symptoms all matched perfectly with something called Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain).
We took her to see Dr. Martha Cooper MD, in Sylvester, Georgia. Dr. Cooper agreed that my wife had the condition and offered to give her some pain meds. My wife does not like taking medicine; she and I both have seen some of the damage that modern medicine has caused and would just as soon find alternative ways of treating most conditions.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Technically speaking, Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a long band of fibers that run from the bottom of the heel bone to the beginning of the toes. It provides shock absorption for the foot and support for the arches. It is a common cause of heel pain in athletes and older adults.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis
1) Weight Gain – often, people will develop the condition after a weight gain, such as during pregnancy.
2) Poor Shoes. Incorrect fitting shoes and poorly made shoes can cause the condition or aggravate it even more and turn a mild case into a severe case.
3) Overuse- exercising too much. If you are on your feet a lot where you work, that can cause the condition or aggravate it even more.
4) Exercising on hard surfaces such as running on pavement or concrete.
5) High Heeled shoes. While women love to wear them and us guys love to see women wearing them high heeled shoes are a significant culprit for this condition in women.
How will I know if I have Plantar Fasciitis?
1) You may have redness or swell over the injured area. Feel for warmth. Check the inside edge of the arch of the foot and the inside back edge of the heel.
2) If you have sharp pain, especially severe when you first get out of bed in the morning, and the pain decreases as you walk around a bit, you likely have Plantar Fasciitis. Even if the problem goes away after a while in the morning, it often does return after any exercise while on your feet.
How is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?
Usually, a physician or other caregiver will examine you and sometimes even take x-rays. The X-Rays will let the caregiver know if there are any bone spurs, broken bones, or other problems that need to be corrected to help treat the Plantar Fasciitis.
How is it Treated?
1) Rest is the most common treatment; however most of us cannot stay off our feet for prolonged periods as we have jobs, businesses, family obligations, etc. Even so, this is probably one of the best therapies if it is possible.
2) Ice can be used to reduce inflammation and swelling. Use an ice bag 3 or 4 times a day if needed.
3) Ice massage works quite well. Fill a paper cup with water and freeze. Peel back the paper and use the large ice cube you just made to massage the bottom of the foot.
4) Ice Bath works well also.
5) Foot aids like heel pads, shoe inserts, etc. can help relieve some stress. The physician may even ask you to wear night splints. These keep your feet in a particular position while you are sleeping.
6) Physical Therapy can be recommended by a caregiver to help reduce the pain and swelling.
7) Stretching and strengthening exercises may be prescribed.
8) NSAIDS type of drugs such as Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, or Alleve can help relieve the pain and some of the inflammation.
9) In severe cases, a steroid shot can be administered.
10) In a very severe case, when relief is needed quickly, steroids can be given by iontophoresis, which uses electric current to push the medicine into the body.
Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis
As my father used to say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of Plantar Fasciitis, I would have to agree.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent the injury in the first place:
1) Wear shoes that fit correctly and have good arch support. Replace athletic shoes regularly. The amount of shock to the foot increases dramatically as your shoes become more worn.
2) Stretch before exercise.
3) Massage the bottom of your feet; a good foot massage from your partner may get you thinking of some other “exercise,” or you can get bored and buy one of those foot massager things. There are many different models in different price ranges.
4) Wear orthotics or shoe inserts.
5) Exercise correctly; if you are unsure of the correct procedure or correct form, you may want to hire a personal trainer.
6) You may ice down your feet after a workout.
7) Be good to your feet.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this report should be construed in any way as medical advice. If you have an injury or illness, you should see a healthcare provider.