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THE FACTS ON PLANTAR FASCIITIS:

WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation at the site where the plantar fascia, a long ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot just below the skin, attaches to the heel bone. This thin strong fibrous ligament attaches the heel bone to the toes. The plantar fascia supports the arch of the foot when standing and engaging in any type of activity that involves putting pressure on the foot, such as walking and running.

When the plantar fascia experiences inflammation at the point of attachment, pain can occur. The pain from plantar fasciitis is usually concentrated in or around the heel. In fact, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common reasons for heel pain. Most often, the discomfort develops over time and increases in intensity little by little. However, the true sign of plantar fasciitis is a very acute pain in the heel upon rising from bed in the morning.

The pain may then improve with increased activity during the day, but then it may return when you first stand after sitting or lying down for a considerable length of time. Pain may also worsen following a lengthy period of intense exercise where the feet are heavily impacted.

WHAT CAUSES PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

Plantar fasciitis falls into a category of injuries referred to as overuse Injuries. The risk of plantar fasciitis increases with physical activity, especially when the activity occurs suddenly. The risk also greatly increases when there’s movement over hard and uneven terrain. A number of factors can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis, including:

Physical activity – Athletic activities that exert force and pressure on the foot can lead to plantar fasciitis. The condition is most commonly associated with high-impact sports that involve running and jumping.

Improper footwear – Wearing the wrong type of shoe during physical activity can contribute to plantar fasciitis. Improper shoes lack good arch support and cushioning. This can leave the feet vulnerable and unprotected against forceful impact.

Excess body weight – When someone is carrying too much weight, the feet are forced to absorb additional shock. This can play a role in the development of plantar fasciitis.

Overpronation – When the natural movement of pronation is exaggerated during walking and running, the plantar fascia can become overstretched, possibly leading to pain and inflammation.

Abnormal foot structure – Arches that are high or flat can alter body alignment, potentially putting additional stress on the plantar fascia.

Hard surfaces – Standing, walking or running on hard surfaces can increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.

HOW TO HELP PREVENT PAIN FROM PLANTAR FASCIITIS

You can help prevent pain from plantar fasciitis in a number of ways.

  • Limit the number of days and the amount of time you spend participating in high-impact activities in order to avoid excess stress on the feet. Take breaks in between high-impact workouts by incorporating days of rest into your routine or choosing a low-impact activity in between days of high-impact activity.
  • Avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces.
  • Wear shoes with good arch support and cushioning. Choose shoes specifically designed for your intended activity.
  • Consider wearing a night splint in order to prevent pain when standing first thing in the morning. Night splints keep the foot slightly flexed while gently stretching the plantar fascia.
  • Before working out, consider taping your foot in order to limit the stretching and movement that can lead to plantar fasciitis pain. Be sure to use rigid athletic tape that offers a little bit of stretch.
  • Use orthotics or inserts in your shoes for added support and shock absorption. There are a number of effective options.

Since plantar fasciitis is a common problem among runners, Dr. Scholl’s® Performance Sized to Fit Running Insoles were designed to provide superior support and cushioning just for runners. The insoles reduce impact on the feet, minimizing the risk of pain from plantar fasciitis.

Dr. Scholl’s® Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief Sized to Fit Insoles are specially designed for those with plantar fasciitis. The insoles feature targeted arch support in order to absorb shock and reduce overstretching of the plantar fascia. Wear these insoles daily in order to prevent plantar fasciitis pain from returning.

You can get over-the-counter orthotics made just for you with Dr. Scholl’s® Custom Fit® Orthotics. Step on a Custom Fit® Kiosk for tailor-made orthotics catered to your foot size and arch as well as your weight and pressure points.

HOW TO RELIEVE PLANTAR FASCIITIS PAIN

There are a number of ways to relieve plantar fasciitis pain. Doctors usually recommend conservative at-home remedies as a first step in reducing pain. These include:

  • Rest You may need to give your foot a chance to heal by avoiding high-impact exercise for a period of time. Consider low-impact athletic activities such as swimming and cycling until your pain resolves.
  • Ice  Cold therapy can help ease the inflammation that causes pain. You can apply ice to the bottom of the foot three or four times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Cover your foot with a sock or thin layer of fabric when icing to protect the skin.
  • OTC NSAIDs  Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve both pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis.
  • Stretching exercises — A physical therapist can recommend a number of different stretching exercises to help relieve discomfort from plantar fasciitis.

See your doctor if you don’t get relief from plantar fasciitis pain after trying at-home remedies. You may require stronger treatments, including:

  • Prescription medications – When over-the-counter NSAIDs aren’t effective, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Cortisone shots – A doctor can administer steroid injections in order to reduce inflammation from plantar fasciitis.
  • Surgery – In rare cases of severe plantar fasciitis, surgery may be recommended.

Recovering from plantar fasciitis requires patience. It can take months to a year for the plantar fascia to heal. Healing time will vary depending on severity, mitigating efforts and individual health factors. Ask your doctor if you have concerns or questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is plantar fasciitis pain?

Plantar fasciitis pain most commonly develops in the heel along the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis pain can also be felt near the heel area even though it might not occur in the heel itself. In a small number of cases, plantar fasciitis pain can also be experienced in the areas behind the metatarsals, the other point of attachment of the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis is characterized by a very sharp, acute pain with the first steps in the morning. This pain quickly subsides, however, and transitions to a more steady pain developing throughout the day.

How to relieve plantar fasciitis pain

It’s often possible to relieve plantar fasciitis pain with simple lifestyle changes and everyday remedies.

Taking a break from high-impact activities that put pressure on the feet can help relieve plantar fasciitis pain. Plantar fasciitis is primarily considered an overuse injury because it’s most often caused by repeated stress to the feet. It’s important to ease up on behaviors that lead to the problem in the first place so that the area affected by the plantar fascia has a chance to heal. If you usually engage in high-impact workouts, try switching to low-impact workouts like swimming or cycling until your pain improves.

Along with proper rest, you can get relief from plantar fasciitis pain with regular icing and over-the-counter pain relievers. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be especially beneficial because they target inflammation.

Stretching exercises can help provide relief from plantar fasciitis pain. Some people find foot massage balls to be particularly helpful. Dr. Scholl’s® Hot & Cold Foot Massage Ball features stimulating nubs that gently massage all areas of the foot, including the plantar fascia. The ball can be filled with hot or cold water for extra therapeutic benefits.

A night splint may be helpful at relieving pain that occurs first thing in the morning. Night splints are designed to hold the foot in a gentle flexed position during sleeping hours.

Wearing proper foot attire with good support is essential for relieving plantar fasciitis pain. Even more, orthotics and inserts can complement a good pair of shoes, providing additional support. There are several options for those suffering from plantar fasciitis pain, including:

In cases where plantar fasciitis pain is severe and doesn’t get better with lifestyle changes and home treatments, prescription drugs, injections or even surgery may be required. Surgery is rare and is usually only recommended when there’s been no improvement after a full year of trying home treatment methods.

Can plantar fasciitis cause knee pain?

Plantar fasciitis is not a direct cause of knee pain. However, if left untreated, pain from plantar fasciitis can change the way you move. Many people will compensate when they’re in pain so that they don’t put pressure on tender areas. This can shift body weight and cause additional pressure on other areas of the body, including the knees.

Does plantar fasciitis cause ankle pain?

It’s possible for plantar fasciitis to radiate the pain and inflammation in the heel, causing ankle pain. The pain from plantar fasciitis most commonly occurs in the heel of the foot. However, the pain may radiate up into the ankle area in some instances.

Can plantar fasciitis cause toe pain?

Although uncommon, in some cases, it’s possible for plantar fasciitis to cause toe pain, or more specifically, pain in the metatarsals. The condition may also make it more difficult for you to raise your toes even if pain isn’t felt in the toes themselves.

Can plantar fasciitis cause calf pain?

Plantar fasciitis isn’t usually a direct cause of calf pain. However, tight calves can be painful, and they can also increase the risk of plantar fasciitis due to increased pressure on the plantar fascia. Because of this, it’s common for people to suffer from plantar fasciitis and calf pain at the same time.

Is plantar fasciitis painful?

Plantar fasciitis is usually painful. However, the pain can vary between individuals, and it tends to develop gradually, starting as mild discomfort and then progressing to significant pain. The pain from plantar fasciitis is also often more intense at certain times. People with plantar fasciitis generally report the most severe pain first thing in the morning after getting out of bed, when they first put weight on their feet. The sharp pain in the morning is a clear sign of plantar fasciitis as opposed to general heel pain. The pain then often improves over the course of the day with regular activity. It also usually subsides temporarily during times of rest.

Can plantar fasciitis cause leg pain?

Plantar fasciitis may lead to leg pain in some cases. When people experience pain, they often adjust their gait, or the way they move. This can cause pain in other areas of the body because of an imbalance in weight distribution. When body weight isn’t evenly distributed, there may be excess stress placed on specific areas of the lower body, including the legs.

Where is plantar fasciitis pain located?

Plantar fasciitis pain is typically located on the bottom area of the heel. Some people also experience pain near the heel.

How to ease plantar fasciitis pain

In order to ease plantar fasciitis pain, it’s important to stop high-impact exercises and movements that aggravate the plantar fascia. This means avoiding sports and activities that involve running and jumping until the condition improves. It’s also best to avoid standing for long periods on hard surfaces.

Over-the-counter pain relievers and cold therapy can also ease plantar fasciitis pain. Night splints, foot massage balls and orthotics can be helpful complementary tools for pain management of plantar fasciitis.

Most people are able to ease plantar fasciitis pain at home with lifestyle adjustments and over-the-counter remedies. Rarely, medical treatments may be necessary for easing plantar fasciitis pain. In severe cases, doctors may recommend prescription treatments, injections or surgery.