One of the most common patient complaints patients sees a foot doctor for is heal pain. There are a lot of causes for heal pain, but the most common is plantar fasciitis. Even though it is a common ailment, many patients do not understand the causes of the condition, which can lead to excruciating pain. If you have any questions about the causes and treatments available to you, consult any foot doctor clinic Lynnwood WA.
The Plantar Fascia
The plantar fascia is a ligament in the foot. It extends from the heal of the foot to the big toe. It supports the arch of the foot and allows the big toe to support balance. Since this ligament provides such an important service, it can easily become inflamed and irritated. When it does become irritated and inflamed, doctors refer to the condition as plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition but most people are not aware of the symptoms experienced in the condition. The most common symptom patients with plantar fasciitis suffer from is pain in their feet. This pain is worse when the patient initially gets out of bed but will improve with a few steps. Unfortunately, patients will experience this pain after every episode of resting. For example, after sitting in a chair for a period of time, a patient may feel pain similar to what they felt when they woke up. The pain may also present after exercise and after prolonged periods of standing on their feet.
Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis
There are many risk factors for plantar fasciitis and some people without risk factors will still develop the condition. The risk factors for plantar fasciitis include having flat feet, having a high arch, being an athlete, and being on your feet for prolonged periods of time. It is commonly experienced by people who work retail jobs or walk for long periods of time also. Certain shoes have also been known to trigger this condition. These shoes include those with little to no support. Flat shoes, like flip-flops, and those that are highly flexible.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
There are a lot of treatments available for this condition and a full evaluation of your situation is the best place to start your treatment. While some patients may require surgery, many can achieve relief from simple changes in their daily lives. Understanding how your lifestyle affects the condition is very important for preventing flares. The first part of treatment is ensuring that you have the right shoes to treat the condition effectively. Having flexible shoes that are too forgiving will cause irritation of this ligament. Your shoes should have good arch support and it is important that you do not spend a lot of time barefoot, as this can place additional strain on your arch.
Some cases may require treatment with arch support orthotics. Some people experience some relief from over the counter options, but sometimes a special orthotic is necessary to correct the condition. Your orthopedist will need to obtain exact measurements and a mold of your foot to ensure that the orthotic made is customized to your foot.
Physical therapy has also proven to be beneficial for patients with this condition. Some patients benefit from acquiring a list of stretches from their doctor. Other patients will require a referral to a physical therapist to achieve relief. At times, physical therapy is combined with the use of night time splits to stretch the calf muscles while you are sleeping. This can prevent the initial pain in the morning, as well as relief during the day.