If you’re middle-aged and like to go for a run or stay active, it’s very likely you’ve experienced some level of plantar fasciitis (to your unfortunate displeasure). If you're unsure of what does plantar fasciitis feel like, we're here to help!
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs when the ligament that joins your heel to the front of your foot (known as the plantar fascia) becomes inflamed or torn.
What does it feel like?
Plantar fasciitis feels like a dull ache or sharp pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel. It is often is strongest after exercise or when you walk after an extended period of rest.
It’s most often described as an aching or burning sensation and can cause some swelling of the heel.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis usually occurs in just one foot but can affect both. Often occurring over time, it’s unusual for it to be caused by a single incident. There is a range of issues that increase your chances of developing plantar fasciitis, as well as activities that are more likely to cause it.
Here is a list of some factors, both genetic and lifestyle, that often contribute to plantar fasciitis:
- Anyone between the age of 40 to 70 is at a higher risk of developing it, with it being slightly more common in men.
- Being overweight or obese increases the pressure on this ligament, and sudden weight gain is especially likely to inflame it.
- Long-distance runners, people in hospitality and other jobs that keep you on your feet and moving a lot are at increased risk.
- Pre-existing foot issues like flat-foot, high arches or Achilles issues all add an extra strain onto your foot and increase your chances of developing plantar fasciitis.
- Pregnancy greatly increases the risk.
- Wearing shoes with little or no arch support or rigid stiff soles.
Plantar Fasciitis and the pain it causes can come and go, and once you’ve had it, the chances of it recurring increase. However, there are several ways to treat and manage it to relieve the pain and speed up your healing, minimising the chances of recurrence.
To help you out, we’ve outlined a few of those that are more successful. It’s important to note that in cases where the pain is constant or severe, it’s best to see your doctor.
Seeking the assistance of a physiotherapist is often a great way to treat plantar fasciitis and the pain it causes. By going through targeted exercises and stretches which can then be practised at home, you can recover the ligament and surrounding muscles.
Some examples of exercises which can be done at home are:
- Calf stretches
- Rolling stretch (with golf or tennis ball)
- Foot flexes
- Towel curls
- Plantar stretches
Wearing insoles or orthotics to treat plantar fasciitis can be one of the most effective ways to manage the condition, as you can wear them over the day to treat the condition while you work, alleviating the pain and soothing the ligaments.
Various podiatrists and other specialists often recommend having custom orthotics fit, or using insoles designed specifically for plantar fasciitis, like the Ergopad Redux Heel 2, which has been clinically shown to alleviate the symptoms of Plantar fasciitis and speed up the recovery process.
When we sleep, most of us unconsciously have our toes pointed downwards, which puts pressure on the ligament, aggravating plantar fasciitis.
By wearing specially fit splints, you keep the foot in a posture most suitable to the recovery of the foot, allowing for support overnight. Combining this with insoles and physio give you the best chance at recovery.
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