If you’ve ever woken up feeling major discomfort on your heel or the bottom of your foot, it’s possible that you have a condition called plantar fasciitis.
What causes it?
Plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue stretching from the heel to the middle of your foot bones. It works to support the arch of your foot and as a shock-absorber. Regardless of whether the fascia is inflamed or not, repeated strain on the area are likely to cause the condition:
Standing for extended periods of time.
Doing lots of walking, running and standing, especially if you’re more used to a sedentary lifestyle.
Shifting from exercising on different surfaces such as running on a track to training on concrete.
Wearing shoes with little to no arch support for long periods of time.
Being overweight, which can add additional strain on your heel.
Sudden stretching of your sole caused by rapid increases of running intensity.
What are the symptoms?
Plantar fasciitis is characterized by foot arch or heel pain, common among middle-aged people or anyone who spends most of their time on their feet. Most sufferers feel morning foot pain as a symptom.
The first few steps you take after waking up in the morning is very telling, as this is a signature symptom of plantar fasciitis.
To accurately diagnose the condition, it’s best that you consult your physician about your symptoms in the context of other health and medical conditions or injuries, how active your lifestyle is and how much pressure you put on your body in terms of exercise and physical activity.
What’s the best way to treat it?
That depends. There’s no single treatment approach that will guarantee instant relief, which is why seeking the help of a medical expert is essential. Nevertheless, there are several ways that doctors have been recommending to provide relief:
Give your feet a rest and cut back on physical activities known for aggravating the condition.
Ice your heel to reduce swelling and pain.
Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever helps alleviate discomfort.
Toe, calf, and towel stretches throughout the day, especially first thing in the morning, can help.
Try using ankle compression sleeves to help manage discomfort and provide additional support, especially if you know you’ll be on your feet the whole day.
Make sure you wear comfortable shoes that provide ample arch support and have a cushioned sole.
Keep in mind that plantar fasciitis is a condition caused by injuries that happen over time. Treatment guided by your physician will help alleviate the pain and discomfort, but it won’t be overnight. It’s important that you stick with your treatment.
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