You depend on your marvelous feet as you “walk your walk.” They are capable of handling hundreds of tons of force, your body in motion, every day. But the stress of that motion puts your feet at risk of injury more than any other part of your body. Painful feet can be debilitating, aggravating and may even prevent you from maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
One of the most common causes of foot pain is Plantar Fasciitis, pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs along the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.
Your plantar fascia acts like a bowstring, absorbing shock in the arch of your foot. When tension becomes too great, small tears in the facia can result. Repeated tearing and stretching can cause the facia to become inflamed and irritated.
The stabbing pain caused by plantar fasciitis usually occurs as you step out of bed in the morning. As your foot warms up, the pain normally decreases. It may be triggered throughout the day if you spend a lot of time standing or as you get up from a seated position.
What are the risk factors?
- Your weight – Excess pounds put extra stress on your feet and on your plantar fascia.
- Your age – Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
- Your exercise – Running and dance aerobics can place extra stress on your heel and the attached tissues.
- Your occupation – Teachers, factory workers and others who spend most of their day walking or standing on hard surfaces are at risk for damaging their plantar fascia.
- Your foot structure – Having an abnormal pattern of walking, a high arch or even being flat-footed can affect the way your weight is distributed and put added stress on the plantar fascia.
Most people who have plantar fasciitis recover with conservative treatment in a few months.
Stretching and strengthening exercises and taping the bottom of your foot may provide relief, as well as the use of specialized night splints or orthotics which help distribute pressure to your feet more evenly.
If you have concerns or questions about your feet, call for an appointment.