Many patients who experience heel pain, especially when it comes on strong in the morning, suffer from a condition known as plantar fasciitis. Understanding why this condition occurs and what can be done about it is important for finding relief. Whether you need expert heel pain treatment or simply more information, Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma is here to help!
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Running along the bottom of the foot is a thick band of fibrous tissue known as the plantar fascia. Under normal circumstances, the fascia both supports your foot’s arch by absorbing shock and acts as a spring to help conserve energy. When the fibrous band faces excessive tension and develops tiny tears in its tissue, this repetitive cycle of stretching and tearing causes the fascia to become inflamed.
Symptoms When You Step
The most apparent symptom of plantar fasciitis is the intense heel pain experienced with the first steps of the day and following any extended periods of inactivity. This phenomenon is known as post-static dyskinesia, which happens because the body works to repair the damaged tissue during times of rest. As physical activity—even simply walking out of the bedroom—is resumed, the tissue becomes torn again and the nervous system triggers the painful sensation to let you know something is wrong.
Are You at Risk?
Whereas anyone could potentially develop this injury, various considerations make it more likely to occur. Females, overweight individuals, and those who work in jobs that require lots of standing or walking on hard surfaces have a greater risk. Additionally, tight calf muscles, certain exercises, and arch abnormalities, both high and low, increase the likelihood of plantar fasciitis.
Treating the Pain
There are a variety of plantar fasciitis treatment methods that alleviate the heel pain. Rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications are all components of conservative care, but stretching is perhaps the most important. Our OKC podiatrist, Dr. Darren Elenburg, can provide specific treatments and recommendations for you.
A corticosteroid injection is used to give necessary pain relief for some patients. The primary concern with this approach is that multiple injections may weaken the fascia, increase the risk of rupture, and reduce the protective pad of fat covering the heel bone. As such, this is not an approach we want to repeatedly use.
In rare instances, when all else has failed, we consider surgery as a final option to provide relief from severe pain. The surgical procedure often entails detaching the affected fascia from the heel bone. This is something we discuss in-depth so you are able to make an informed decision.
Can Plantar Fasciitis Be Prevented?
It is difficult to completely, 100% prevent this condition, but you can definitely take steps to reduce your risk of sustaining this injury. As with many common foot and ankle conditions, preventative measures start with your choices in footwear. Always pick supportive models with low to moderate heels that offer shock absorption and provide solid arch support. If you are a runner who has had the same pair for roughly 500 cumulative miles, it’s time to replace your running shoes.
If you choose to stay active, and we strongly recommend that you do, consider incorporating low-impact exercises into your fitness regimen. Walking, jogging, and running are all great activities, but they place a lot of pressure on your feet and ankles. Replace a couple of sessions each week with bicycling, swimming, or yoga to not only provide relief for your lower limbs, but also to achieve a greater overall level of fitness. Of course, do not forget to warm up and stretch prior to and after any physical activity!
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment in OKC
If you are experiencing any pain or impaired functionality in your foot or ankle, do not hesitate to contact us and get started on your road to recovery. We offer effective heel pain treatment, but are also ready to help you with any other lower appendage issue you might face. Call Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma today at (405) 418-2676 or simply schedule your appointment at our Oklahoma City, OK office online.
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