Feel pain is generally the result of faulty biomechanics (walking gait abnormalities) that place too much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues that attach to it. The stress may also result from a bruise or injury incurred while walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces; wearing poorly constructed footwear (such as flimsy flip-flops); or being overweight.
Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis (pronounced plan-tar fash-ee-eye-tis) is a common cause of heel and foot pain in adults. “Plantar” means the bottom of the foot; “fascia” is a type of connective tissue, and “itis” means “inflammation” Plantar fascia is a layer of tough fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot and supports your arch. This is one of the longest and strongest ligaments in the body.
The condition occurs when the plantar fascia is strained over time beyond its normal extension, causing the soft tissue fibers of the fascia to tear or stretch at points along its length; this leads to inflammation, pain, and possibly the growth of a bone spur where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone. As the plantar fascia pulls on the heel, your body will respond by laying down more bone in the area.
The classic symptoms of plantar fasciitis include heel pain that is usually most severe first thing in the morning. This condition is characterized by inflammation at the insertion point of the plantar fascia on the heel bone. The inflammation may be aggravated by shoes that lack appropriate support, especially in the arch area, and by the chronic irritation that sometimes accompanies an athletic lifestyle.
Resting provides only temporary relief. When you resume walking, particularly after a night’s sleep, you may experience a sudden elongation of the fascia band, which stretches and pulls on the heel. As you walk, the heel pain may lessen or even disappear, but that may be just a false sense of relief. The pain often returns after prolonged rest or extensive walking.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Common contributors to this condition include: progressive flattening of the arches over time (primary reason); lack of flexibility in the calf muscles; changes in activity levels; overuse; and weight gain. When your arch drops, the plantar fascia begins to tear away from its insertion at your heel. When this happens over a long period of time, it can overcome the body’s ability to repair itself.
How is Plantar Fasciitis treated?
If left alone, plantar fasciitis can take from 6 to 18 months to heal. This can be frustrating, interfere with your ability to work and other activities, and the problem can come back. With proper treatment and orthotic use, you can expect up to 100% pain relief within 3 months. There are two main concepts in the treatment of plantar fasciitis: 1) the decrease of inflammation and 2) addressing the cause of the condition.
Stretching and Exercises aimed at lengthening the plantar fascia can lessen the pull on your heel. Increasing the length of the calf muscles is a very important part of any treatment. Tightness in this muscle group can cause excess pronation (arch drop), which may contribute to plantar fasciitis.
Specialty Footwear – Popular brands of stylish shoes and sandals are custom fit to function perfectly with your unique feet and help with issues such as Plantar Fasciitis. (Yes!…it is possible to look good and be comfortable.)
Plantar Fasciitis Sleeve with graduated compression provides 6 zones of support to improve circulation and decrease swelling. The sleeve is convenient to use because it can be worn both day and night whenever heel or arch pain occurs.
Foot Solutions Custom Arch Supports – This is the most effective treatment. Visit Chris and his team in Estero to have these custom fitted to your feet.
Custom Foot Orthotics are often the best defense in the prevention of plantar fasciitis and the most reliable long-term cure for existing conditions. A Foot Solutions Custom Biomechanical Arch Support™, unlike typical custom orthotics, is designed to completely support the corrected arch of your foot, determined by a unique way of capturing your optimal foot position. A restored arch significantly reduces the daily pull on the plantar fascia by relaxing the ‘bowstring” function of the fascia. It is the only practical way to address both the symptoms AND the cause of your problem.
Foot Solutions carries a wide selection of specialty footwear from popular brands in various shoe and sandal styles that are custom fit to enable proper function relieving heel pain. Living in Florida, it is not surprising that many people prefer to wear flip flops, which unfortunately do not offer much support to allow for proper movement while walking. If you must wear flip flops Foot Solutions carries specialty lines like Oofos and Orthaheel that provide better support and cushioning.
Don’t spend another day walking around in pain when there are options that can offer you complete relief. Stop in or call Foot Solutions to learn more about treating your painful feet. Corner of US 41 & Corkscrew Rd. Next to Publix. (239) 495-8911
Chris is a Licensed Board Certified Pedorthist and owner of Foot Solutions Estero, a BOC Accredited Fa-cility. Chris graduated from Clemson University and has taken advanced course study in Mass Position Theory, CAD/CAM Technology for Prescription Foot Orthotics, Pedorthic Care of Diabetic Foot, Heel Pain Syndrome, Obesity among older Americans, Fall Prevention, and Shoe Construction and Modification.