Health Care

Plantar Fasciitis

Have you ever experienced pain in your feet or heels early in the morning when you first got out of bed and step your feet on the ground? If so, you may start to have plantar fasciitis or heel pain. This condition is caused by inflammation or injury to the ligaments that connect the heel bone to the toes to reduce impact during walking or running.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

People who have plantar fascciitis tend to experience pain around their heels. In the early stages, it may occur after exercise or prolonged period of walking or standing. If the condition has progressed, patients may feel constant pain the their heel.

Warning Signs

Patients who have plantar fasciitis will feel some pain in their heels when they take the first few steps after waking up in the morning or after sitting for a long time due to the jolt of sudden onset of inflammation. Once they start walking for awhile, the ligaments will gradually stretch and the pain will subside, but will come and go. Thus, it is not a good idea to leave it unattended because it can lead to chronic pain and may eventually interfere with daily routines. It may also cause stress and anxiety. There might be calcification around the heel bone where the ligaments are attached. Furthermore, it may cause ankle pain, stiffness and pain in the calf muscles and Achilles tendons when walking or variable weight distribution that leads to pain.

Who Is at Risk of Plantar Fasciitis?

Treatment For Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis can be mainly treated without surgery. About 80 – 90% of the patients will show improvement, but it requires patience to take care of themselves (which may take about 2 – 6 months) and a combination of methods as follows:

  1. Medication to reduce inflammation and pain. If the condition does not improve, steroid injections may be necessary to reduce the inflammation. However, it is limited to only 2 – 3 injections.
  2. Risk Reduction, such as loose excessive weight, perform less strenuous exercise, etc.
  3. Fix or change to more suitable footwear. Choose shoes with softer cushion or use additional inserts to suppor the heels. People who have flat feet may choose arch support to help distribute weight and wear soft slippers when walking around the house.
  4. Physical therapy by yourself.

In case all non-surgical treatment steps have been taken to no avail, surgery may be necessary to remove the inflammed tissue and ligaments or calcification around the cartilage. Preventive measures can be taken by choosing the right footwear with soft heel support, the sole should not be too thin or hard, as well as reducing the risk factors as mentioned above.

Nevertheless, plantar fasciitis treatment requires the patient’s cooperation because treatment with medicaiton will not resolve the issue. Patients should reduce risk factors, change footwear, and stretch their Achilles tendon and calf muscles regularly to relieve the pain. If these measures do not work, please consult a physician to determine if there are other underlying problems as well. Although plantar fasciitis can be treated, it may come back again if the problems have not been resolved.