The Heel of the Matter: Healing Plantar Fasciitis

People from all walks of life suffer from the unfortunate troubles of plantar fasciitis. This heel pain is more than a mere bone spur or an inherited condition. In fact, these are two of the various myths about plantar fasciitis. But, what is plantar fasciitis and what causes it? It’s a common foot complaint, especially among runners and people who are overweight; however, it can also be caused by inadequate foot gear, too high an arch, too low an arch, as well as disease, such as arthritis.

The bottom of the feet is a thick padding of connective, shiny, white tissue (aponeurosis) called the plantar fascia. This fibrous tissue connects the heel bone to the toes. When the fascia is irritated and inflamed, it can be very tender in the sole and sides of the heel. This can consequently cause pain when walking or simply getting out of the bed in the morning.

Fortunately, there are several heel pain services lakewood ranch fl area that can help remedy plantar fasciitis. The first thing a podiatrist will probably do before making a conclusive diagnosis, is provide a thorough physical exam of both feet. Sometimes the physical exam will warrant x-rays or other diagnostic testing such as MRI or CAT scans to rule out any abnormalities such as arthritis. These diagnostic tests can be helpful to the podiatrist as they provide a more detailed examination into the bone structure and tissues of the feet.

Most podiatrists like to use a conservative approach to heel pain. Usually, a podiatrist will recommend some outpatient physical therapy and different types of home exercises as well to improve the support of the foot and so the healing process can begin to take place. These home foot exercises can be followed by an ice pack to the affected area, and over the counter pain relief such as ibuprofen. Depending how irritable or inflamed the foot is, sometimes stronger pain medication is prescribed by the podiatrist. In some cases, simple orthotics from a reliable source, such as a specialty shoe store, can be extremely helpful in helping the foot recover; in extreme cases, the podiatrist will have the foot cast for custom made orthotics.

Of course, there’s nothing more important than prevention. It’s vital that feet are healthy and remain healthy so putting them in the right shoes will help alleviate any problems with them in the future. It’s also important that shoes be replaced every 6 months to a year, depending on the type of shoe and how often they’re worn. Also, purchasing a good pair of running shoes or walking shoes should be a number one priority before embarking on any exercise program. It’s also critical that warming up the feet prior to exercise will help the muscles stretch before running or walking. Moreover, if all these methods fail, the last resort may be surgery to repair the plantar fascia, but most podiatrists will often suggest months of conservative treatment before providing this as an option.