Managing Your Heel Pain Caused By Plantar Fasciitis
If you have heel pain that doesn't go away after resting your feet, you might have plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a wide band of tissue on the bottom of your foot that attaches to your heel. When it is irritated, injured, or inflamed, you may experience pain on the bottom of your foot and in your heel. Sometimes the pain is bad enough to interfere with your ability to go about your usual activities. Here are some treatments that may help manage your condition, so the pain doesn't interfere with your life while your foot heals.
Heel pain from plantar fasciitis tends to be worse when you first start moving after you have been resting for a while. It may be very difficult to take the first steps when you wake up in the morning due to severe heel pain when you walk. A foot brace can help with this by keeping your calf and heel in a stretched position while you sleep. Your podiatrist will supply you with one of these braces and show you how to use it to get the best results. A brace is usually made of soft material, so it won't interfere with your ability to sleep. It is made in such a way that your foot is stabilized in a position that keeps your plantar fascia stretched when you're not standing on your feet.
An orthotic device is an insert that fits in your shoe. You can buy one over the counter or you can have one custom made by your podiatrist. If you buy one from the drugstore, be sure it is an insert made specifically for plantar fasciitis. If the insert doesn't seem to help with your pain, or if it makes your pain worse, you should see a podiatrist to be fitted for the proper type of orthotic device. For plantar fasciitis, you want a shoe insert that has cushioning for your heel in the form of a supportive heel cup along with extra padding for arch support. In addition to the insert, you may need to buy supportive shoes that cradle your heel and add cushion to your arch. Flat sandals or shoes with high heels will probably make your condition worse.
It's a good idea to begin stretching exercises at the first sign of heel pain. Calf, toe, and foot stretches may help prevent further damage to your heel and they may reduce pain by working out the knots in your tendons and fascia. Your podiatrist may refer you to a physical therapist to learn stretching exercises while under supervision so you get the most therapeutic results. Since heel pain is usually worse after your feet have been resting, you can even do foot exercises while you sit in your chair and watch television. Something as simple as rolling a tennis ball around with your foot or picking up a pencil with your toes, will help keep your fascia stretched and limber.
It may take weeks for your foot to fully recover from plantar fasciitis. Once your heel pain is gone, you want to prevent it from returning by wearing supportive shoes with the proper inserts. If you have a gait abnormality, a podiatrist from a clinic like ETL Podiatry can help you adjust for it with custom inserts and shoes to prevent the stress on your feet that causes heel pain to return.