Do you have sharp, stabbing pains in the bottom of your foot? Are your first steps painful when you get out of bed each morning? It could be plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot conditions in the country, and it can cause excruciating foot pain. It happens when your plantar fascia (a thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes) gets irritated and inflamed.
Fortunately, plantar fasciitis is treatable. Guillermo Duarte, MD, is a foot and ankle surgeon at Manhattan Orthopedics, specializing in plantar fasciitis care. Read on to learn how to protect your feet when you have plantar fasciitis, so you can find relief.
Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis can manifest in various ways, and it isn’t always easy to identify on your own. At Manhattan Orthopedics, Dr. Duarte and our team look for symptoms like:
Intense heel pain
A sharp pain in your heel is often the most common symptom of plantar fasciitis. Sometimes, the pain extends from your heel toward your toes along the bottom of your foot.
Plantar fasciitis can cause stiffness and discomfort in your foot, and this pain usually occurs when taking your first steps in the morning or after sitting for a prolonged period. You might also notice worsening pain after standing or walking for a long time.
Pain after exercise
If you engage in physical activities or sports, plantar fasciitis pain can intensify after exercise. You may not notice pain during activity, but it can come on suddenly after you stop, making it difficult to maintain your usual exercise routine.
Swelling and sensitivity
Plantar fascia inflammation can also cause visible redness and swelling on the bottom of your foot. This swelling is usually more noticeable after extended periods of activity. Sometimes, the bottom of your foot can also feel tender to the touch. Pressing on the area near your heel may elicit significant pain.
The best ways to protect your feet when you have plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis can make your daily routine painful, but there are several effective ways to protect your feet and find relief from the pain. Depending on your unique needs, Dr. Duarte and our team might recommend:
1. Wearing supportive footwear
When you have plantar fasciitis, wearing supportive shoes is essential. Look for shoes with good arch support and cushioning in the heel area. Orthotic shoe inserts can also provide extra support and alleviate pressure on your plantar fascia.
Avoid wearing high heels and flat shoes like flip flops, because they can worsen your foot pain.
2. Avoiding overexertion
One of the best remedies for plantar fasciitis is rest. Resting gives your body time to heal, and it’s important to avoid overexertion during this time.
Take a break from activities that put excessive strain on your feet, like high-impact exercises and long periods of standing or walking. Opt for low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling to stay active without aggravating the condition.
3. Trying ice and heat therapy
Alternating ice and heat therapy can help relieve inflammation and pain. Dr. Duarte may recommend applying ice to your foot for 15-20 minutes several times a day. Soaking your feet in warm water can also help relax your muscles and provide relief.
4. Participating in physical therapy
For severe or persistent plantar fasciitis, we might prescribe physical therapy. A professional therapist can recommend specific exercises and therapies tailored to your needs as well as guide you through a structured treatment plan.
We can also give you gentle stretching exercises to do at home. Stretches can help improve the flexibility of both your plantar fascia and calf muscles, reducing strain (and pain) in your feet.
5. Wearing night splints
Like stretching, night splints help relieve strain on the muscles in your feet and lower legs. Wearing night splints keeps your plantar fascia stretched during sleep to help prevent morning pain and stiffness.
Plantar fasciitis is painful, and taking a proactive approach to protect your feet can help you live more comfortably. Get a personalized treatment plan, and start finding relief with an appointment at Manhattan Orthopedics in Astoria, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, New York.
Call the office nearest you, or request an appointment online today.