When you crawl into bed at night your heels feel fine. But when morning comes and you take your first step, that pain in your heels makes it so hard to walk!
You may already expect it and know that after a few minutes the discomfort will go away – heel pain has become part of your morning routine, after all. Though you probably still wonder, “What is the problem, anyway?” You did just spend all night resting, so where is this pain coming from?
The truth is that early mornings can be hard enough for many of us. When you add heel pain into the mix, starting your days on the right foot can be nearly impossible. And you can most likely blame it on plantar fasciitis.
But What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the most common type of heel pain experienced by Americans today.
This condition develops when the feet endure too much strain and become worn out by the constant pressure and force impact of everyday activity. As a result, small tears may start to develop in the plantar fascia, a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from heel to toes. These small tears can cause pain and even swelling.
Why is pain worse in the morning, though?
When you sleep, these irritated, inflamed tissues tense up, and they are not prepared for the weight and pressure they must bear first thing in the morning after slowly tightening as you sleep. So, the tensed-up muscles, tendons and ligaments in your feet, ankles and lower legs will all contribute to that sharp, stabbing pain you may already know all too well.
That being said, pain can also be felt after rising from other long periods of non-weight-bearing activity, like sitting at a desk or on a couch for several hours.
After walking around for a few minutes, the pain will likely subside. However, this discomfort won’t stick to “mornings only” for long. In fact, as the condition progresses, pain becomes more intense and more constant – ignoring the problem, or hoping that it will solve itself given time, is not the best option here.
The good news, however, is that plantar fasciitis can often be fully eliminated using conservative treatment methods. From simple stretching exercises to medications and custom orthotics, we can help you get rid of heel pain once and for all.
Even better, when you catch symptoms at early stages, at-home remedies may even be all you need to find the relief you’ve been looking for.
How Can You Treat Plantar Fasciitis at Home?
Try these steps:
- Wear appropriate shoes. Shoes with adequate arch and heel support will provide your feet the comfort and protection they need.
- Consider custom orthotics. These devices are extremely versatile and will provide the exact comfort and support that even appropriate footwear may not be able to provide.
- Warm up before starting activities. Take 5-10 minutes to warm up before intense physical activity by lightly jogging or briskly walking.
- Stretch daily, as well as before and after activities. Take the time to thoroughly stretch after warming up.
- Ease into physical activity. Gradually progress with regard to your frequency and duration of activity.
- Never push through the pain. Instead, stop what you are doing and avoid high-impact activities until the pain goes away completely.
- Apply ice to the area in pain. Since it’s a more difficult place to reach, you can also consider rolling your foot against a frozen water bottle.
- Massage the area in pain. You can use a tennis ball, a foam roller or get a friend or partner to help.
- Take over-the-counter medication. Basic anti-inflammatory and pain medication can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
Now, sometimes (and despite all efforts to keep the pain of plantar fasciitis at bay), foot problems can still happen. If that is the case for you, then it’s time to come visit our office for a more thorough evaluation and a more tailored treatment plan.
Is It Time to Visit a Podiatrist?
Yes – ice and rest can be helpful to some extent, but a prompt visit to a foot and ankle specialist will ensure that you avoid any further damage to your foot. Some good indicators that you should seek medical advice and treatment include:
- Persistent or extreme swelling
- Bruising at the site of an injury
- Inability to bend your foot downward
- Persistent or extreme pain
- Inability to raise your toes
- Difficulty walking
Many of us tend to delay medical treatment in fear of what we may find. Maybe you are hesitant to know the diagnosis or maybe you are afraid of the treatments needed to solve the problem. But waiting will most likely result in more serious injuries in the future – and these may require even more extensive care and treatments, including surgery.
So don’t delay getting the help you need!
Let Us Help You!
Schedule an appointment at one of our El Paso, TX offices today. All you have to do is call our office location most convenient to you:
- Sierra Tower Building: (915) 533-5151
- George Dieter Drive: (915) 856-3331
You can also fill out our handy request form online to have one of our staff members reach out to you.