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Plantar Fasciitis

Custom orthotic shoe inserts can help!

By Stacy Harkleroad LO, CPed

Plantar FasciitisPlantar fasciitis is probably the most common cause of heel pain. Symptoms come on gradually and are often worse first thing in the morning. Plantar fasciitis means inflammation of your plantar fascia band of tissue (like a ligament) that stretches from your heel to your middle foot bones. It supports the arch of your foot and also acts as a shock absorber in your foot.

Around 1 in 10 people will develop plantar fasciitis at some time in their life. It is most common in people between the ages of 40 to 60 years. However, it can occur at any age. Your are more likely to develop the condition if you are female, overweight or have a job that requires a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces. You are 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 have very high arches also are more prone to plantar fasciitis.

Symptoms
Pain is the main symptom. The pain is compared to that of a stone bruise. There is usually a gradual onset of pain under the heel which may radiate forward into the foot. The pain is often worse when you take your first steps on getting up in the morning or after long periods of rest where no weight is placed on your foot. Gentle exercise may ease things a little as the day goes by. However, a long walk or being on your feet for a long amount of time often makes the pain worse.

Treatment
Usually, the pain will ease in time. ‘Fascia’ tissue, like ‘ligament’ tissue, heals quite slowly. It may take several months or more to heal. However, the following treatment may help to speed recovery.

Stretching is the best treatment for plantar fasciitis. It may help to keep weight off your foot until the initial inflammation goes away. You can also apply ice to the sore area for 20 minutes three or four times a day to relieve your symptoms. Often a doctor will prescribe a non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Home exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia are the mainstay of treatment and reduce the chance of recurrence.

If the symptoms continue, a physician my suggest bracing to immobilize the foot while walking or a positional splint to stretch the foot while you sleep. Custom orthotic shoe inserts can also be helpful to reduce the excess motion of the foot and decrease the strain to the plantar fascia. In a few cases, surgery is needed for chronically contracted tissue.

If you struggle with heel pain, you may want to talk with your physician about your treatment options.

Custom orthotic shoe inserts can also be helpful to reduce the excess motion of the foot and decrease the strain to the plantar fascia.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Bristol Orthotics & Prosthetics at 1-800-524-4447 or www.bristoloandp.com.

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