For people suffering from a condition called plantar fasciitis, mornings can be especially excruciating.
The condition is known as one of the most common causes of heel pain in adults, marked by a sharp, stabbing pain that is usually felt as you take your first steps in the morning.
Despite being a common orthopedic complaint, the cause remains unclear. What is known is that plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory condition and it occurs in the plantar fascia—the band of tissue running along the bottom of your foot that forms the arch and connects your feet to your toes. A pad of fat covers that tissue to help your heels absorb shock that is placed on your feet. And when it gets damaged, it usually causes heel swelling and pain.
Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms
Like a lot of chronic pain conditions, pain and swelling are the primary symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Mornings are tough on those who suffer from this condition, especially since the pain is usually worse in when you wake up, as you take your first few steps.
Plantar fasciitis pain is typically felt as stabbing pain at the bottom of your foot, usually near the heel. Movement helps ease symptoms, but it can return after long periods of standing, or when you get up after sitting. Sometimes, plantar fasciitis pain can be triggered by exercise, with pain exhibiting worse after.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Overuse, wear and tear, and inflammation on the plantar fascia ligament are often to blame for plantar fasciitis. However the real cause behind this condition remains unclear. There are instances where plantar fasciitis pain develops without an obvious cause and we often have to explore risk factors to better understand the condition.
For instance, certain types of exercise can contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis, specifically ones that place a lot of stress on your feel such as ballet, aerobic dance, and long-distance running.
Age can also be a contributor, with diagnosis often being made in patients between the ages of 40-60.
Abnormal feet mechanics such as having flat feet, a high arch, or even unusual walking patterns could affect how weight is distributed on your feet while standing, which adds stress on the ligament.
Other lifestyle factors such as obesity is also to blame as the added pounds contribute to stress on your feet; and jobs that keep you standing for extended periods on hard surfaces can also add to the wear and tear of the plantar fascia.
Should I Worry About Plantar Fasciitis Complications?
Ignoring symptoms of plantar fasciitis could lead to experiencing chronic heel pain that may affect your regular activities.
If you’re currently feeling pain similar to the symptoms we’ve described, it’s best that you seek a consult with a trusted physician who can examine your foot and review your symptoms. You will be asked about how long you’ve been experiencing the pain, when it occurs, and may even be asked to undergo additional tests to make sure your symptoms are not being caused by other problems.
Getting Plantar Fasciitis Support and Treatment
Home remedies are often the first line of treatment once plantar fasciitis pain begins to exhibit. This can include common treatments such as resting the heel, icing the area, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs to manage inflammation and pain, as well as using tools and aids for added plantar fasciitis support.
Plantar fasciitis socks are an especially useful tool for treatment and support. How can compression socks help plantar fasciitis pain? They put pressure on the soles of your feet to help improve blood flow to the area, which in turn helps minimize swelling. This can ultimately help reduce inflammation and lower pain symptoms caused by the condition. The anecdotal data supporting the efficacy of plantar fasciitis socks are numerous, with many patients touting significant relief through consistent use combined with known at-home remedies.
Unless otherwise instructed by your physician to do so, we don’t recommend that you wear your compression socks as you sleep since you’ll be lying down for an extended period of time. This could inhibit blood flow to your foot.
Simple exercises, which you can find in our handbooks that come with every purchase of our plantar fasciitis supports, can also help reduce tension in the foot and calf. When done correctly and consistently, it can provide rapid relief and help improve symptoms over time.
Other remedies such as using shoe inserts have also been known to help minimize stress on the ligament, and is useful for those who keep jobs that require them to be on their feet for long periods of time. Using massage to help ease symptoms has also been known to be effective. And seeking professional intervention through physical therapy to help stretch your plantar fascia and strengthen lower leg muscles and stabilize your walk can be beneficial for the condition.
In more extreme cases, surgical intervention is suggested if pain is severe and symptoms last more than 6-12 months.