Pain caused by plantar fascitis or by a plantar fascitis bone spur can be mildly annoying or serious enough to lead to plantar fascitis disability. If you’ve experienced this type of heel pain, you know how debilitating it can be. However, understanding the causes, plantar fascitis symptoms and treatments can help you know how to find relief.
The plantar surface is the name given to the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is a tearing and subsequent inflammation of the ligaments on the bottom of the foot, which in turn causes pain. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain.
Plantar fascitis heel pain is often felt at the front part of the heel on the bottom of the foot. Frequently, the pain then spreads along the bottom of the foot towards the toes.
Heel pain can really hurt when walking – especially the first steps in the morning. And many find that heel pain is only a problem at the end of the day or while performing certain types of activity.
Because inflammation has caused the ligaments of the foot bottom to have tightened up overnight, putting your weight on your foot to walk as you get out of bed becomes painful. The foot area that is tight is stretched as you put your weight on your foot, which causes a ‘hot’ pain that runs along the heel toward the toes.
What causes plantar fascitis bone spur?
Because of the inflammation, new bone growth or calcium deposits can form around the heel on the bottom of the foot. This is called plantar fascitis bone spur.
Common causes of plantar fascitis, bone spur and related heel pain include excessive exercise, walking or standing. Wearing shoes that fit poorly, feel uncomfortable or have no cushioning can be a cause.
Physical injury, flat feet, tight calf muscles or achilles tendon tissues can be causes. The majority of persons suffering from plantar fascitis incidence are middle-aged and overweight.
What are some plantar fascitis treatments?
Treatments for heel pain include:
• 1. Wear only cushioned and supportive shoes at all times. Do not go barefoot. Check and test all your shoes – a good supportive shoe bends only where the foot should bend which is near the toes. You can test your shoes yourself – take a shoe and turn it upside down. Holding each end of the shoe, try to fold it. If you find the shoe bends in the middle, then that shoe is not a supportive shoe.
• 2. Change your exercise and activity level. Being on your feet more leads to more tearing in the fascia. And tearing in the fascia area is what leads to inflammation and pain. Eliminate contact exercises such as running, jogging, walking, treadmills, stair climbers and aerobic exercise that consist of moving on your feet.
Instead, try biking, stationary bikes or swimming. Try this for a couple of weeks – if you notice improvement, continue to go easy on the contact forms of exercise. Slowly and gradually return to your former exercise routine.
• 3. Lose weight. Sorry, but this can be important. You may have even gained some weight since your heel pain began because of less activity. Excess weight transmits more stress to the plantar fascia area, making plantar fascitis treatment more difficult (see the free weight loss report on this website).
• 4. Try ice massage on the foot bottoms. You can freeze a plastic water bottle, put it on the floor and roll the bottom of your foot over the water bottle for 15-20 minutes two times a day. Alternating between hot and cold foot baths can also be very helpful.
• 5. Try massage therapy. Massage therapy treatment can definitely help. Deep tissue massage works best. Working on the tightness, not only in the foot, but in the connected calf areas may be one of the successful treatments for plantar fascitis.
• 6. Try exercises and stretching. For example, lay a towel on your floor. Place your foot or feet on the part of the towel nearest you. Curl your toes, grip the towel and pull it under your foot or feet. You’ll be surprised how quickly your feet tire in the beginning, but this is one of the great treatments.
Using the same towel, wrap the towel around the ball of your foot. Gently pull the towel and your foot toward you for 30 to 60 seconds. Keep your leg straight. You will feel a nice stretch in your foot and calf. You can really help keep the bottom of your foot and calf stretched out this way. See if you can stretch for 30 seconds 5 to 10 times a day.
• 7. Use night splints. Night splints are one of the most effective plantar fascitis treatments. Night splints provide mild constant stretching across your foot bottom and calf while you are sleeping.
The plantar fasciitis night splint shown above is designed for use on either the right or left foot and is size appropriate for most adult’s feet.
Many people have success with the plantar fascitis night splints, especially the adjustable type. Night splints may be covered by your insurance when you get a doctor’s prescription. To relieve pain and be able to sleep at night, use this splint because it will give you comfort and will help you with the foot pain.
By understanding the causes, symptoms and treatments – you should be able to improve your foot and heel pain. By paying attention to your body and avoiding activities that make the problem worse, you should be able to make progress.
A final option for treatment can be surgery for plantar fascitis. Surgery should be considered as a last resort, reserved for severe and rare cases.
How does foot surgery work? An incision is made on the heel area to free the attached fascia from the heel bone. Recovery time for this surgery is 6 to 10 weeks before walking can be done comfortably so surgery should be considered only if all other options have been exhausted.
Obviously, other treatments for plantar fascitis should be made before considering surgery. And of course, if you continue having heel pain, see a podiatrist.