Has Plantar Fasciitis got you down?
Q. I Think I have got plantar fasciitis, which is very painful. When I wake up and get out of bed in the morning it’s an excruciating pain in my arches and heels. I find that sometimes it eases off as the day goes on. The trouble is, whenever I sit down for a while, the pain returns as soon as I get up to walk. Help!
This type of condition can be very painful. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation at the attachment of the ligament that supports the longitudinal arch of the foot on the underside of the ankle bone, the calcaneum travelling across the arch towards the toes.
It is often caused by a small but regular injury that does not have the opportunity to heal properly. When you go to sleep your body repairs itself but sometimes it doesn’t have enough time so when you awake and go to walk the swelling would have increased and the symptoms are at their worst. Regrettably, your weight will aggravate this problem and tend to make it recur.
My first step (excuse the pun!) is to look at the large muscle that works in opposition to the arch, the calf muscle. It’s made up of two rather meaty and powerful muscles, the gastrocnemius and the deeper narrower soleus muscle. By stretching these muscles you can create “length” as well as flexibility and therefore reduce the “pull” on the heel and plantar fascia.
The inflammation of the area needs to be reduced, you can do so by using an anti inflammatory gel topically, a cryotherapy spray such as biofreeze or dynamint or by simply chilling a sturdy tin can in the freezer and with your socks on and you sat on a comfy chair, place the can under the sole around the heel area and roll back and forth between the heel and toes to massage and cool the area with light pressure.
Let us now look at the alignment of the structure of your foot and in relation to your leg. Is there some mechanical alignment that could do with a tweak? If so we can consider corrective orthotics that can reposition your heel at point it hits the ground with each stride and alter the pressure and impact to ease the pain.
Perhaps a gel cushion insole will be enough to reduce the impact on the heel bone (the calcaneum) and allow it time to heel. These can be supplied by me if we agree it’s the best thing to go with.
Addicted to your footwear? Perhaps those favourite shoes are not the BFF you thought they were. It’s surprising how poor the choice of good supportive footwear is on the market, what choice do you have aside from ballet pumps, slip-one or trainers -which really won’t cut the mustard in a corporate environment or at a dinner table. But by focussing on the correct and appropriate footwear relevant to each of your tasks, we can work towards a shoe cupboard ranging from those killer Louboutins to wear to dinner to some on trend trainers to commute to the office. Together we will find a scope that suits your choices and appeases those achey feet.
If this does not work, then an injection of steroid, usually with some local anaesthetic into the tender area can be very effective.
Although it’s quite an uncomfortable procedure, it certainly does produce prolonged relief or even sometimes a cure.