Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes sharp pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel, particularly when first stepping down in the morning. It is caused by small micro tears in the plantar fascia, a soft tissue structure that connects the heel bone to the bottom of the toes and helps stabilize the arch. Treatment for plantar fasciitis involves healing the tear and encouraging the soft tissue to grow back onto the heel bone. Here are seven things to try to help alleviate the pain:
- Activity modification: Avoid running, dancing, and other weight-bearing exercises and rest your foot as much as possible.
- Supportive shoes: Wear shoes that provide support throughout the day.
- Arch supports: Use arch supports to slow down arch collapse and reduce the workload on the fascia.
- Night splint: Wear a splint while sleeping to hold the foot at a 90-degree angle to the leg, helping the fascia heal.
- Anti-inflammatory medication: Take over-the-counter medication like Motrin or Advil as directed to reduce inflammation.
- Ice: Apply ice 3x per day to reduce inflammation.
- Calf stretches: Lightly stretch the calf muscles to reduce tension in the fascia and Achilles.
For more severe cases, a podiatrist may suggest steroid injection, shock wave therapy, laser therapy, or even surgery. It is important to note that this condition may come and go over time, but it is common and can respond well to these suggestions.