This complex sounding name stands for nothing more than heel pain, an inflammatory process of the connective tissue on the bottom of your foot. The Fascia runs along the bottom of your foot and when tiny tears occur, it will lead to pain which we call Plantar Fasciitis.
The causes range from intensive physical activity to obesity to old age to improper footwear, among others. Symptoms can include excessive pain while on your feet, especially in the morning, accompanied by difficulty in flexing your toes upward.
If you are unsure if you have the condition, you can have you feet examined by a podiatrist. They might need to look at the way you stand, run and walk, ask you about pain symptoms and might even do an X-ray. Should you be diagnosed with PF, you needn’t worry as there are a number of measures you can take before having to resort to medications or even think about surgery.
Plantar Fasciitis is not only an annoying pain, but it can reach debilitating pain levels. Once you have been diagnosed with PF, it is best to start treatment immediately. Although stretching and flexing your foot muscles will be uncomfortable, this will be part of the healing process to get you back on your feet. As the main reason for PF is overuse and strain, you need to take it easy for awhile and stay off your feet if you can. This will help your fascia heal and recover. But since you cannot be a couch potato for weeks on end during your healing process; another great treatment you can make use of are gel inserts or orthotics to cushion your foot from walking shock and impact.
You could also try exposing your heel to an alternating cold-hot routine for an extended period. Whether it is ice, your heater at home or commercial products, the end result should be a general decrease in pain level. When referring to commercial treatments, these can range from heel taping to insoles, night splints and massagers which can all provide pain relief and healing to varying degrees, depending on your foot and the plantar fasciitis severity. Making sure your shoes feel comfortable is also a must, as shoes which are too constricting might make matters even worse.
If you have been using all conventional treatments and are still not feeling any pain relief, you can consider over-the-counter pain relievers, although prescribed drugs are a possibility if your condition persists and your doctor agrees. Controversial treatment procedures also exist, such as ones using ultrasound or acupuncture, both of which have helped many people. If all else fails, there is still surgery, although it should be only used as a last resort. It carries significant risk of infection, damaged nerves or even rupture of the plantar fascia, while being quite costly. It could also completely fail to bring any benefit, you should be extremely careful when making such a decision.
In review, PF should be treated as soon as it is diagnosed, before it alters your life in any significant way. There is a lot you can do on your own before and after consulting you podiatrist. Lastly, never ignore Plantar Fasciitis as without a bit of TLC, it is likely to get more painful and take longer to heal if you do not catch it in its beginning stages.
I found my passion for running whilst in Nantucket, but had to migrate from barefoot running to shoes with solid arch support when I moved to London. I write about everything running related but keep a close focus on plantar fasciitis and flat feet, providing advice how best to live with and treat these conditions at HappyRunningFeet.com.