Like many people, you take your feet for granted until something happens that is so painful that you can't even walk. One foot condition that can occur creates such intense pain that you can't put any weight on your foot. Here is what you need to know about plantar fasciitis and how to deal with it should this painful issue happen to you.
The Plantar Fascia and Foot Pain
Running along the bottom of your foot is a band of tissue called the plantar fascia. It stretches from your heel to the base of your toes. Under certain situations, this tissue band can become irritated and so painful that you can't step down on your foot. You can have a burning sensation along the bottom of the foot and extreme heel pain, especially at the spot where the tissue attaches to your heel.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
There are a number of reasons why this tissue becomes irritated. Some causes you can correct while others will require the help of a podiatrist to resolve. These include:
- poorly fitting footwear that rubs against the bottom of your foot
- insufficient warming up of your foot muscles before exercise or other physical exertion
- an abnormal bone growth, called a bone spur, extending out of the heel bone and into the plantar fascia
- a foot injury that causes the tissue band to become tense
Treating this Painful Condition
For immediate relief of the pain, you can:
- apply ice to the bottom of your foot to reduce the painful inflammation
- take an anti-inflammatory pain medication, such as ibuprofen
When the pain persists, a bone spur or injury may be involved, and you'll need the help of a foot doctor who may recommend:
- custom orthotics for your shoe to support the bottom of your foot and reduce the irritation on the tissue band
- surgery to loosen the tight plantar fascia damaged during a foot injury
Bone spurs normally are reabsorbed by the body after a period of time. If one develops at the attachment point of the plantar fascia at the heel or base of the toes, it may continue to irritate the tissue band. Your podiatrist may recommend surgical removal of this bone spur before your body can deal with it naturally.
Preventing Plantar Fasciitis
There are some ways that you can prevent this debilitating foot problem from happening, such as:
- purchase shoes that support the bottom of your foot on all sides without letting your foot slide in the shoe and irritate your sole
- stretch your foot and ankle muscles slowly and thoroughly before exercise or other other physical activity that affects your feet
- in cool weather, keep your feet warm, which will help keep the plantar fascia from contracting and causing pain