Plantar fasciitis, pronounced plan-ter fash-ee-eye-tis is a condition that creates pain in the feet, most frequently the heels. Pain or burning are caused by inflammation of the supporting structures of the foot. There are several causes for this inflammation, and they often work in conjunction with one another.
Standing for several consecutive hours on a hard surface, running too much or too hard, wearing improperly fitting shoes or those that don't have enough arch support, being overweight, and unusual tightness in the feet or legs, are all related to plantar fasciitis.
This condition can usually be diagnosed without extensive testing, since the most common sign of plantar fasciitis is heel pain upon awakening in the morning, or after an extended period of rest. Usually, the pain will decrease to some extent after a person has had time to loosen up and become fully engaged in an activity.
Applying ice or soaking the feet may help alleviate discomfort temporarily, as will over-the-counter pain relief medications and putting the feet up to rest them. However, plantar fasciitis should be treated to avoid further damage. One of the simplest and most productive treatments is stretching exercises. Stretch the foot by picking up small items off the floor with the toes and placing them into a box. This is an exercise that anyone can do at home with little to no cost, and without special equipment.
Other simple options include changing to better quality, better fitting shoes to help absorb shock, or using commercially available orthotics. Orthotics come in over-the-counter styles, such as arch supports, heel cups, and full foot inserts, but they can also be custom made by creating a cast of the patient's foot. Custom made orthotics can be expensive and it does take a while to have them made, but if your pain is severe, it may be well worth the time and expense. Night splints may be advised by your doctor and have been proven quite effective in treating plantar fasciitis. Surgery is necessary in rare cases to unbind ligaments.
Plantar fasciitis most commonly affects women, but can be a problem for anyone with short or damaged Achilles tendons, high arch, low arch, or flat feet. If you believe that you suffer from plantar fasciitis, do not ignore it hoping that it will go away. This condition can create permanent damage and can change the way that you walk, creating other painful problems throughout the body.