Your feet take a beating every day. They’re responsible for helping you stand, walk, and sometimes kick, run, and dance. With all that daily wear and tear, over time your feet may suffer from aches and pains—one of the most common of which is plantar fasciitis.
This painful foot condition occurs when there’s an inflammation of the connective tissue that goes from the heel to the ball of the foot. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), causes include weight gain, worn-out shoes, walking barefoot or with flip flops, and increased exercise. The most common symptoms are pain in the bottom of your foot, near the heel, and pain occurring when you first get out of bed in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time.
Treatment for plantar fasciitis rarely involves surgery. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than 90 percent of patients with the condition will improve within 10 months of starting simple treatments. Generally, conservative approaches are taken first, such as simply resting and decreasing activities that are aggravating the pain, taking pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen, icing the bottom of your foot a few times a day, stretching, and wearing arch supports. If the pain persists and/or gets worse, it’s probably time to think about making an appointment with a licensed and experienced podiatrist (check the license at the Board of Podiatric Medicine’s website, www.bpm.ca.gov).
To avoid getting plantar fasciitis, APMA recommends always wearing shoes that fit well and the correct shoes for each activity, pacing yourself when you exercise, stretching before and after exercise, losing weight, and getting enough rest and good nutrition.
For more information on plantar fasciitis, visit the APMA website at www.apma.org.