From professional athlete to stay at home mom, anyone can suffer from plantar fasciitis. This condition can be very painful, and make even the most simplest of tasks difficult.
And yet, it’s surprisingly prevalent. In fact, the likelihood that you suffer from it when you experience foot pain makes it crucial to get your condition diagnosed right away, which allows you to learn how to manage it and make sure it doesn’t return.
Statistics and Risk Factors
You might not realize it, but 2 million people in the United States will suffer from plantar fasciitis this year alone. One in ten people will experience plantar fasciitis in their life, and it usually occurs individuals who are between 40 and 60 years old.
That said, this age group isn’t the only one effective. In reality, it is also a common injury among athletes. There are several factors that increase your risk for plantar fasciitis, and as a result, it can happen to anyone.
Weight is not the only possible cause and contributing factor, but it does bear mentioning that 70 percent of cases are directly connected to people who are overweight. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society has outlined a number of potential causes in more detail:
You’re more likely to develop the condition if you’re female, overweight or have a job that requires a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces. You’re also at risk if you walk or run for exercise, especially if you have tight calf muscles that limit how far you can flex your ankles. People with very flat feet or very high arches also are more prone to plantar fasciitis.
Luckily it can be treated, a crucial note considering its prevalence in the United States today. If you don’t see improvements within a year, you can also consider a number of surgical options.
What Does Plantar Fasciitis Feel Like?
Plantar Fasciitis is difficult to self-diagnose because, simply put, it can feel differently for different people. Some of those who suffer from it may notice an increase in heel pain. That’s because the plantar fascia is a long thin ligament that runs the entire bottom length of your foot, from the heel to the toes. It also helps to support your arch, and works to absorb the strain we put on our feet.
However, this strain can become too much and over tax the ligament, which will begin to cause inflammation. This inflammation then is what causes the pain, and induce the plantar fasciitis. Some people may begin to notice the onset of this with a tearing or ripping sensation in the bottom of their foot.
Of course, this sensation will diminish, at which point you may begin to experience pain when you get up after sleep. You may also find that working out does not induce discomfort, but the pain will set in immediately afterwards and you might even find it difficult to walk.
See A Doctor
Because plantar fasciitis is incredibly common, it’s important to you see a doctor anytime you think you might experience it to be sure you have the proper diagnosis. That’s because a few other injuries can mask themselves as plantar fasciitis. For example, you may actually have a tear in your ligament that could require a different treatment. Only a medical professional can help you by taking a closer look.
Additionally, a doctor will examine your feet and check your range of movement. If you have plantar fasciitis, you may find it very difficult to flex your foot towards your body, and more specifically your toes. Not only will a doctor be able to accurately verify if you are suffering from the condition, but they can also suggest a course of treatment to improve your health.
The good news is that many individuals can simply follow the doctor’s instructions for home in order to receive enough relief to function. But if you cannot get relief after consistent treatment for a year, then surgery may be the only way to get you back to normal.
What Can I Do For Relief?
The first thing a doctor is likely to tell you is to rest your foot. It’s very important not to continue injuring the already inflamed area. Consider resting your foot on ice, which will help to reduce any swelling and bring you additional relief.
Another very important treatment consists of stretches. The human body is so interconnected that you have to take care of parts that may actually be contributing to your plantar fasciitis even if they’re not part of your foot. That means doing stretches that help to stretch out your calf. The achilles tendon is connected to the plantar fascia, and a tight achilles tendon can actually increase your risk of developing the condition.
You can also take pain medication to help with inflammation, such as ibuprofen. Another option is to wear extra supports in your shoes, which helps to provide your foot with much-needed support and helps to take some of the pressure off the plantar fascia.
Depending on the severity of your plantar fasciitis, your doctor may also recommend that you wear night splints. They help to keep your foot stretched while you sleep, providing you with relief while your body rests. And of course, you might need physical therapy in order to complete stretches, and get additional treatments like ultrasound in order to provide you with pain resolution.
If none of the above works to improve the pain in your foot, your doctor may also recommend a steroid injection in order to reduce the inflamed plantar fascia. However, this injection can be painful, so other options will be exhausted first.
Lastly, if you can’t find relief, then your only option may be surgery. But that’s only a last resort; in most cases, the above-mentioned treatments will have a lasting positive impact on your plantar fasciitis.
In some cases, the way you walk or the anatomy of your foot is the primary cause of your plantar fasciitis. In that case, you need to be educated on how to prevent it. Especially if you are an athlete and want to return to your physical activity, you want to be sure to know how to prevent yourself from contracting plantar fasciitis again.
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