I had the chance to sit down with my mother-in-law and ask her about her foot condition called plantar fasciitis, which causes heel and arch pain. The plantar fascia is a flat band ligament that attaches to the bone in the heel to the toes. If the plantar fascia gets damaged or inflamed it weakens and causes pain in the bottom of your feet.
Plantar fasciitis can affect anyone, especially people who are on their feet a lot. In addition, anatomical conditions such as high arches, flat feet, excessive pronation (rolling your feet inward) and having tight calf muscles can all have an impact on developing plantar fasciitis. Also, people who are overweight or wear poor-fitting shoes can be more prone to developing the condition.
People who have plantar fasciitis often experience pain in one foot, although it can be in both feet. They experience pain after they have been sitting and get up to walk or, if they have been standing for a long time, they have to get off their feet because of the pain. My mother-in-law said, “I know when I wake up in the morning that I’m going to be in pain. The first few steps [I] take are the worst. However, I’ve learned how to manage the pain and my feet are functional. That’s all I can ask for.”
Doctors have several treatment options, but the first step is to manage the swelling and rest your feet. That can be a difficult thing for people who are used to an active lifestyle. There are also braces, medication and surgery that can help with the pain. You may also seek the advice of a podiatrist, who specializes in orthotics. Physical therapy may also be an option to relieve the inflammation and teach you how to strengthen the lower extremities and stretch the calf muscle.
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis and your doctor approves exercise, water aerobics is a great workout without the stress of full weight-bearing exercise.
If you suspect you could have plantar fasciitis, schedule an appointment to see your doctor. You don’t want to wait until you have severe symptoms to get treatment. Early intervention can help you get back on your feet.