If you’ve recently experienced sharp pains in your heels while walking or getting out of bed in the morning, you may be one of the 3 million people that develop plantar fasciitis each year. It is one of the most common causes of heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition caused by the inflammation of the thick band in your foot that connects your heels to your toes. It can also cause swelling and tenderness in the foot, making it painful to walk or exercise.
If you are between the ages of 40 and 60, you have a higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Regularly running, jumping, and making hard landings on your feet can be stressful on your heels, and contribute to causing the condition. Even just being on your feet for long hours each day can lead to inflammation.
Obesity is another risk factor, since the excess weight adds more stress on the area. Ignoring this pain can lead to chronic heel problems, and can also cause pain throughout the rest of the body, like in the lower back and knee.
Plantar fasciitis can be self-treatable, but you should meet with a sports medicine specialist to receive the information you need to find the right treatment method for you. Some patients may need more treatment than others to fully heal, depending on the severity of their pain and inflammation.
Less severe cases can be treated with stretching, compressing, icing, shoe modification and rest. You can also take anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or Aleve to reduce pain and swelling. Physical therapy and regular stretching can also help heal the area.
More severe cases may need to be braced or splinted to reduce further damage. If the pain doesn’t subside from therapy and self-care methods, your doctor may recommend injection therapy, in which cortisone is injected into the bottom of the foot to numb the area temporarily and reduce inflammation.
If you believe you may have plantar fasciitis, visit a sports medicine specialist.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.com, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
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