Do you suffer from heel pain? Is it worse first thing in the morning or when you work out? Then you may be among the estimated two million Americans diagnosed with plantar fasciitis each year. A common condition, with one in 10 people affected in their lifetime, plantar fasciitis can cause such significant heel pain that it interferes with your daily activities.
Plantar fasciitis results when your plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects your toes to your heel bone, becomes inflamed. The condition can cause a range of symptoms like:
Treatment depends on the intensity of the pain and extent of the injury.
Although anyone can develop plantar fasciitis, certain risk factors make it more likely for you to develop the condition. At Scheffel Foot Center, we’re here to share three of the most common risk factors for the condition and what you can do if you have this podiatry issue.
The third most common injury for runners, plantar fasciitis often develops among those who jog and run, especially long distance. Because running places all of your body’s weight on the ball of the foot, it causes the fascia to stretch and contract over and over again.
In just a few miles, your plantar fascia can go through at least a thousand stretching/contracting cycles, causing inflammation in the tissue, as well as micro-tears and lesions. What’s more, when you overtrain or increase your mileage, speed, or incline, you can strain the plantar fascia and may end up with plantar fasciitis.
The mechanics of your foot can make plantar fasciitis more likely to develop. Those who have flat feet or high arches often distribute weight in a way that puts extra stress on the plantar fascia and leads to foot pain.
People with flat feet commonly have excessive foot pronation, causing the foot to roll inward, which strains the plantar fascia. In people with high arches, the plantar fascia supports the arch, and when it’s high, it can put added strain on the tissue.
If your work requires that you spend much of your day on your feet, you’re also at a higher risk for developing plantar fasciitis than people who sit at work. We often see teachers and factory workers with the condition, because prolonged standing can strain the fascia. And when you stand every day for work, you don’t give the tissue the necessary time and rest it needs to heal and recover.
The risk of plantar fasciitis increases with age; It’s more common in individuals between 30 and 60 years old.
Regardless of the risk factors that led to your plantar fasciitis, there are things you can do at home to heal and lower your pain. Stretching the foot and ankle is our first recommendation, as the condition is often associated with having less flexible ankles, Achilles tendons, and calf muscles.
Other approaches to relieving plantar fasciitis include:
When these measures don’t reduce your pain, you may need medical intervention. We often recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. When this isn’t enough, Dr. Scheffel may recommend injections of corticosteroids. Surgery is rarely necessary.
If you’re suffering from heel pain, contact Dr. Scheffel for evaluation, either by calling the office or using the online booking tool.