Could You Be Suffering From Plantar Fasciitis?
In last week’s article, we discussed on plantar fasciitis and its causes. This week’s article further explains the possible symptoms and treatment options for the condition.
What Are The Symptoms?
Patients experiencing plantar fasciitis commonly complain of pain under the heel or along the sole of the foot. It may occur on one foot or both. Pain and stiffness may be felt on the first step after sitting or lying down for too long. For instance, this could happen when taking your first step in the morning when you wake up.
This occurs because when your foot is at rest and in a non-weight bearing position, it is in a shortened state. When you first step down on it, the fascia undergoes an immediate stretch causing pain. Often, with a weight bearing activity, stiffness and pain will be noticed at the beginning but would become less or completely resolved after a few steps as the plantar fascia becomes more flexible. However, your foot may hurt more as the day goes on because of the increased build-up of stresses on the fascia. It may hurt the most when you walk for a long period or after you stand for a long time.
What Are The Treatment Options Available?
Several conservative treatment options are available for patients with plantar fasciitis and includes the following:
Reduce the activities that cause you pain. Minimise walking or running on hard surfaces.
Apply ice on the affected region that is swollen, painful for about 15 minutes, 2-3 times daily.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
Taking anti-inflammatories may help to settle the inflammation and curb the pain. However, you may want to check with your doctor on the types of drugs to take if you have stomach or respiratory problems.
Steroid (cortisone) injections can be given to help reduce inflammation if the pain remains bad despite other measures. It may help to relieve the pain for some people but does not always cure the problem.
Stretch your calves or your plantar fascia and do strengthening exercises for the intrinsic muscles of the foot. It is important to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot so that the longitudinal arches of the foot will be stiffened during gait reducing excessive stresses on the plantar fascia.
- Proper footwear
Wear shoes with thicker, well-cushioned midsoles and heels and those with good arch supports. Avoid old or worn out shoes that may not give a good cushion to the heel.
Use orthotics to correct biomechanical faults in the foot during weight bearing activities.
- Night splints
A special splint may be worn overnight to keep the calves and plantar fascia slightly stretched preventing tightening up of the plantar fascia overnight.
In cases that do not respond to conservative management, surgical release of the plantar fascia called plantar fasciotomy may be considered. However, there are also potential risk factors involved which includes nerve injury, infection, rupture of the plantar fascia and failure of any improvement of the condition. It is best to consult a medical professional for diagnosis and recommended treatment of the condition.