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Living With Plantar Fasciitis

It’s normal for your muscles to feel a little stiff in the mornings, especially as you get older. But it’s not so normal to experience intense heel pain with your first few steps out of bed each day. If you find it difficult to walk when you first get out of bed, or after you’ve been sitting for a long time, because of pain along the bottom of your foot and heel, you might have plantar fasciitis. 

Fortunately, this common foot condition is treatable — in most cases without invasive procedures. Here at FootCare Specialists, Inc., in San Mateo and Half Moon Bay, California, Dr. David Kaplan diagnoses the source of your foot and heel pain and develops a personalized treatment plan. It’s our goal to help you look forward to your first few steps of the day. 

If you do have plantar fasciitis, Foot Care Specialists where you’ll find long-term relief. In the meantime, here are some strategies to help you reduce your foot pain and live more comfortably with plantar fasciitis.

Understanding plantar fasciitis

Perhaps you’ve never even heard of this foot problem that’s causing your heel pain. It helps to understand what’s going on with plantar fasciitis, so you can better manage this condition at home, before you come see us. 

Your plantar fascia are the long, tendon-like bands that connect your heels to your toes. You have one in each foot. When these bands become inflamed, irritated, or torn, you have plantar fasciitis. 

Plantar fasciitis is common among runners, dancers, and people who play sports that involve a lot of jumping. Other causes include:

In addition to causing extreme heel discomfort and foot pain, left untreated, plantar fasciitis has the potential to progress into other problems. For example, if you change your gait to avoid pain, you may end up with leg, hip, and back problems. Before plantar fasciitis leads to these structural issues, it’s a good idea to address it as soon as you experience symptoms. 

How to manage plantar fasciitis pain at home

At Foot Care Specialist, we believe it’s always best to start off with the most conservative approach first. At the early signs of plantar fasciitis, here are some ways to help reduce your pain and promote healing of your plantar fascia: 

Stretch your feet and calves

Because plantar fasciitis often originates from tight muscles in your feet and calves, stretching those muscles regularly may help alleviate your problem. Be sure to stretch your calf muscles to release tension in the back of your heel. 

Take anti-inflammatory medications

If stretching hurts, or you need to relieve pain so you can stretch more comfortably, over-the-counter medications can help. Since plantar fasciitis pain comes from swollen, irritated tissues in your foot, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may alleviate your pain and reduce swelling.

Apply ice 

Another way to reduce inflammation is to apply ice to your foot. Put a cold pack on your foot for about 20 minutes three or four times throughout the day. Additionally, you can freeze a water bottle and use it to roll on the bottom of your feet to reduce pain and swelling. 

Wear custom orthotics

Custom orthotics are specialized shoe inserts designed to change your foot function, protect injuries, provide support, or a combination of these. 

Shed extra pounds

Your feet endure a lot of stress supporting the weight of your entire body every day. If you’re overweight or obese, plantar fasciitis is a common problem. Shedding a few pounds decreases the pressure and stress on your feet, and has a host of other health benefits, too. 

Choose low-impact exercises

As your feet heal from plantar fasciitis, it’s best to participate in low-impact exercises that don’t put stress on your feet. Take a temporary break from activities that cause plantar fasciitis pain or make it worse. 

For example, switch from walking and running to swimming or biking for a while until your feet heal. Yoga is another good way to stretch your muscles and get exercise without impact. 

Beyond self-care, there are effective medical treatments for plantar fasciitis

While many people get relief from plantar fasciitis pain through lifestyle changes and self-care, if your plantar fasciitis doesn’t respond to conservative at-home strategies, we recommend more advanced therapies. Our podiatrists carefully examine your feet to rule out other possible causes of your foot pain and determine the severity of your condition. 

Once we know the cause of your discomfort, from a holistic standpoint, we can get you started on a treatment plan best suited for you. Your individualized treatment plan may include:

And, if these noninvasive therapies don’t work, and all other options are exhausted, a minimally invasive surgical procedure to lengthen your calf muscle or release your plantar fascia may be the answer to long-term pain relief. 

Don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule a consultation for plantar fasciitis before it causes further complications. Early intervention can help you avoid unnecessary, long-term pain. Contact one of our offices and schedule an appointment with Dr. Kaplan today. You don’t have to suffer from bunion pain anymore!

 

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