When does plantar fasciitis occur?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when your feet become irritated from excessive stress on a ligament in the bottom of your foot. This ligament supports your arch and connects your heel bone (calcaneus) to the front of your foot; if strained it becomes weak and swollen, leading to heel pain, inflammation and possibly tiny tears in the tissue that may not be apparent at first glance.
Heel pain and other symptoms usually begin as a dull, aching discomfort at the bottom of your heel that does not go away with simple rest or anti-inflammatory medicines like acetaminophen. In some cases, it may be so intense that you have to sit or stand still; additionally, the pain may be worse upon awakening or after extended inactivity; however, this typically goes away after some time passes.
When walking or running, the pain usually intensifies. On top of that, being on your feet for extended periods can wreak havoc on your ankles. If you suspect you have plantar fasciitis, it’s best to stop doing activities that cause discomfort until you see a medical professional.
Plantar fasciitis typically affects those with high arches, flat feet or unusual walking patterns. It may also occur in overweight individuals and those whose jobs require them to stand or walk for extended periods of time.
Athletes who engage in sports that require a lot of jumping or running, like soccer and basketball, may be more susceptible to developing plantar fasciitis than other individuals due to the muscles in their feet and legs stretching out when you run or jump. This puts them at greater risk when the ligament in their heel is damaged.
Most people with plantar fasciitis are between the ages of 40 and 60, as the elasticity of your foot tissue begins to decline with age.
Many people with plantar fasciitis don’t experience any symptoms at all, but it is wise to consult your physician if the pain in your foot doesn’t seem to be improving. They can examine your foot to identify if plantar fasciitis is the issue and, if so, suggest treatments to alleviate the discomfort.
Over-the-counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve pain and inflammation, but only when prescribed by your healthcare provider. Don’t take them for more than 10 consecutive days at a time.
Ice your foot can help reduce pain and swelling in your foot. Apply ice three or four times a day, for 20 minutes at a time until the discomfort subsides.
Orthotic shoe inserts can reduce the strain on your plantar fascia and improve posture. These inserts feature built-in cushions to absorb shocks and keep tissue from stretching too far.
Plantar fasciitis is often characterized by heel pain, but can also affect the arches and back of feet. You may experience more intense discomfort if you’re barefoot or wearing shoes with limited support.