Overview of Heel Pain/Plantar Fasciitis

The often referenced “pain in the neck” is insignificant in comparison with a pain in the foot. Affecting the ligaments that support the arch and connect the toes to the heel, plantar fasciitis is extraordinarily painful. The inflammation that occurs as a result of strain and ligament tears is usually the cause of the condition. Ignoring the discomfort is not an option, and finding relief from persistent pain is essential for anyone who suffers from the condition.

Understanding the Cause
A plantar fascia that is strained responds by exhibiting pain in the heel and the sole when it feels pressure. Among the contributing factors that can stain the plantar fascia are these:

• overweight
• ill-fitting shoes
• tight calf muscles
• overexertion on hard surfaces
• high arches
• tendency to roll feet inward
• flat feet
• problems with the Achilles tendon

Experiencing Symptoms
Pain is usually most noticeable with the first steps after getting out of bed or when standing after an extended period of sitting. The heel is usually stiff and sore, resembling a stone bruise that is painful under pressure. The condition may affect both feet, but it usually shows symptoms in only one foot. Either sharp or dull, pains are readily apparent, and they get worse without treatment. A burning sensation that radiates from the heel is a good indication of plantar fasciitis.

Finding Home Treatment Options
Conservative treatments for plantar fasciitis are effective if they provide relief, and surgical options are available when conservative methods fail. Resting the affected foot can reduce inflammation, but it usually does not treat ligament damage. Arch supports and stretching exercises may provide some relief, and ice packs applied for 15 minutes at three or four intervals throughout the day are sometimes effective. Over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs are usually helpful in reducing pain. When home treatments fail, an injection of a corticosteroid is an interim step that may prove successful.

Choosing a Medical Procedure
Doctors may suggest using Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT), a treatment that involves directing sound waves at the heel in order to stimulate it and heal the affected ligament. A noninvasive procedure, the treatment requires no incision and promotes a patient’s return to normal activities sooner than is possible with surgery. Topaz is a medical procedure that may or may not require an incision so that a doctor can direct radio frequency energy with a wand to treat the painful condition.

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