Painless walking is something that some of us take for granted. Unfortunately, many people develop a particular kind of heel inflammation known as plantar fasciitis. Those who are particularly at risk include women, the overweight, those with very little arch or too much arch of the feet, and those whose feet incur a lot of daily stress.
Many people think that plantar fasciitis is the same thing as heel spurs, but in reality, bone growth may have nothing to do with your condition. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the fascia tissue that runs from your heel to your toes. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, you may feel excruciating pain in your heel when you walk. Hot or swollen sensations in the heel often indicate that you have developed plantar fasciitis as well. Cruelly, plantar fasciitis often reveals itself right when you arise from your bed in the morning.
Such a dastardly condition deserves proper treatment! Visit a podiatrist for a checkup and to receive a diagnosis. Upon diagnosis, you'll be trained in how to recover from plantar fasciitis and heal your heel, as it were.
- Rest your foot. Athletic activity will have to be postponed for a while. As much as possible, you should avoid bearing weight on your foot. Your doctor will likely advise you to take some NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), like Advil or Tylenol, as you rest your foot.
- Ice packs. While you rest your heel, you can apply ice packs to it for 10-15 minutes several times a day to reduce inflammation.
- Recuperative stretching exercises. Your doctor will also prescribe daily stretching exercises designed to strengthen your ankle, heel and arch in order to recover from the plantar fasciitis. Perform your stretches as instructed by your doctor. Many patients strongly feel that these exercises contribute the most to their recovery.
- Cushioned footwear. As you recover, your doctor may also recommend that you invest in some shoes that have enhanced shock-absorption in the heel. Patients with plantar fasciitis often find some relief using cushioned inserts and orthotic heel padding.
- Shoes that fit. This may seem like a no-brainer, but in reality, many of us are walking around with shoes that fit improperly. You may be at risk of developing plantar fasciitis if your shoes are too small. Your doctor will evaluate your footwear to determine whether you are in need of a better fit in order to recover from plantar fasciitis.
- More aggressive treatment options. Through a combination of rest, specific stretching exercises and cushioned footwear, most patients with plantar fasciitis show strong improvement after only a couple months. But sometimes the condition endures unabated. In those cases, doctors will move into the more aggressive treatment phase... and nothing says "aggressive" quite like steroids, right?
- Steroids. For plantar fasciitis patients whose condition does not improve appreciably after several months, doctors may administer a corticosteroid injection directly into the affected heel.
- Casts. If the plantar fasciitis is resilient, patients often end up wearing a cast for the better part of a month. Another option is to wear a night splint while in bed.
- Surgery is a doctor's final option when treating plantar fasciitis. Though it is only considered as a last resort, surgery enjoys a strong success rate in the treatment of plantar fasciitis.
Respond to your heel pain swiftly by scheduling an appointment with your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly reduce the amount of time it will take your foot to recover from plantar fasciitis.