Plantar fascia ligament connects your heel to the toes. If you have been experiencing pain from the moment you get up and step onto your feet, then this ligament may have well experienced an injury called plantar fasciitis.
This injury is usually caused by the overuse, strain, or even inflammation of the ligament. As the tissue in question is under the arch of the foot, it can also cause a stabbing pain in the heel, making it hard for you to walk.
It usually takes 6 to 18 months for the ligament to heel by itself. However, you can speed up the healing process by specific treatment with a 97% of chance of a full recovery.
Symptoms in detail
Pain and tenderness of the bottom of your foot could be signs of plantar fasciitis. The heel is usually the sensitive part but the pain can stretch to the whole sole. As a result, you may experience difficulties in walking and running. Your foot can be particularly stiff and sensitive first thing in the morning. You could also experience sharp pain when getting out of a car or rising after a longer period of sitting. In some cases, you will notice your foot is swollen and warm.
What are the causes?
In the majority of cases, plantar fasciitis is caused by strain injury, usually repetitive one. The ligament of the sole usually gets strained from inadequate footgear, too much running or walking, or even from jumping injury. Certain diseases can also lead to plantar fasciitis, such as ankylosing spondylitis and reactive arthritis.
In general, foot pain is caused when a ligament holding the bones together is overstretched, causing the fibers to tear. If the ligaments become too loose, it could lead to chronic foot pain. If you continue to overstress the same part of the foot, plantar fasciitis could be the outcome, as well as other issues such as stress fractures, acute or chronic osteoarthritis, and tendonitis.
There are numerous things you can do to speed up the recovery process and ease the pain.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will reduce pain. Of course, you have to see your doctor in order to get the prescription. The doctor may prescribe several doses to be taken in a day for a few weeks. alternatively, ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) may soothe the pain as well.
2. Physical therapy
Your doctor might recommend you physical therapy, which comes in many forms and is accompanied by an effective plantar fasciitis treatment, usually massage, shockwave therapy, ultrasonography, or contrast bath. Shockwave therapy uses sound waves to stimulate the blood flow, which speeds up the recovery process of the tissue. It aslo stuns the nerves, so the pain lessens. Massage does a similar thing for your blood flow - it speeds up the circulation so that more oxygen reaches the inflamed and injured area.
The goal of physical therapy, in general, is to strengthen and stretch your plantar fascia, lower leg muscles, as well as Achilles tendon. The important thing is to be persistent with the exercises and consistent, otherwise the results will be underwhelming.
3. Comfortable footwear
Sometimes the cause of plantar fasciitis was uncomfortable and inappropriate. So, it's important to switch to sports running shoes with cushioned soles. They could reduce the irritation and pain. You can also try orthotic shoe inserts, which reduce the excess motion, decreasing the strain that leads to pain and additional tear.
If the pain is very strong, or you don't react to the prescribed painkillers, then you may want to consider steroid injection. The steroid gets injected into the most painful part of your foot. You should feel less pain for a month but could help with the inflammation even longer than that.
5. Essential oils
Some studies suggest that certain essential oils can help with lessening the pain and inflammation. The possibly helpful oils include eucalyptus oil, lavender essential oil, rose, and lemongrass essential oil.
You should make sure to dilute the essential oil with another oil such as coconut oil before you massage it onto the inflamed foot. Alternatively, you can inhale the steam coming from the oil mixed with hot water. Even if the oils don't help in your case, there is no harm in trying.
6. Tenex procedure
This procedure involves a small cut and it over in just a few minutes. Then ultrasound is used to target the scar tissue and to remove it. After this procedure, you can gat to your regular routine within 10 days or so.
Plantar fasciitis prevention
To avoid plantar fasciitis ever occurring again, you have to introduce some changes to your lifestyle.
First, you should wear shoes with good arch support, and switch your athletic footwear regularly. If you jog regularly, you have to buy a new pair after you have run 400 to 500 miles in one pair.
Secondly, you should switch to medium to low-level exercises, for example, swimming or cycling. These activities won't strain your plantar fascia. Just make sure you stretch before exercising, especially your calves, plantar fascia, and Achilles tendon.
Lastly, keep a healthy weight - having too much weight will add pressure to your plantar fascia.
With plantar fasciitis, one must be very patient and persistent. As this condition will last for several months, no need to endure pain and lower your quality of life.
Explore your possibilities and choose the best options for you, together with your doctor.