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Plantar Fasciitis Signs, Symptoms, and How To Get Relief

Plantar Fasciitis Signs Symptoms and How To Get Relief KinetikChain Denver CO

What’s worse than waking up in the morning, stepping out of bed, and instantly having excruciating foot pain? What about the fear of waiting in line at the grocery store or going to the mall because you don’t want to be on your feet for too long? Dealing with plantar fasciitis can sometimes feel like there’s a ticking time bomb of overwhelming pain just waiting to go off when you’ve spent too much time on your feet.

What if I told you there are simple ways to improve your plantar fasciitis pain without the need for medications, surgery, or fancy shoes? Sure – rolling the bottom of your foot feels good while you’re doing it, but will that really allow you to perform your daily activities or enjoy your hobbies that make life worth living?

What is Plantar Fasciitis and what does it feel like?

Plantar fasciitis is directly translated as inflammation of the plantar fascia or the tissue on the underside of the foot. Once irritated and inflamed, walking and standing (especially after periods of immobility such as sitting or sleeping) can become very painful because applying pressure to your feet from the ground causes stretching of the plantar fascia. Most people experience a sharp stabbing pain in the bottom of their foot in their arch or close to the underside of their heel. When really bad, plantar fasciitis can feel like your foot will split in half especially taking those first few steps of the day when getting out of bed.

Understanding Plantar Fasciitis: Signs and Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis is a very common foot condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. To help you recognize this painful ailment early and seek timely treatment, it’s crucial to be aware of its signs and symptoms.

  • Heel Pain: The hallmark symptom of plantar fasciitis is persistent pain in the heel, typically near the bottom. It’s often described as a sharp, stabbing sensation. This pain is usually most intense when you take your first steps in the morning or after long periods of inactivity.

  • Arch Pain: Many people with plantar fasciitis also experience discomfort in the arch of the foot. The plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes, supports the arch, so inflammation can lead to arch pain.

  • Pain That Worsens Over Time: Plantar fasciitis pain tends to develop gradually and may become more severe over weeks or months if left untreated. Ignoring the pain can lead to chronic issues.

  • Stiffness: Stiffness in the foot, particularly in the morning or after sitting for extended periods, is a common symptom. It often accompanies the initial steps when you start walking.

  • Tenderness: The heel may become tender to touch, especially along the inner part, where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone.

  • Discomfort After Activity: Pain and discomfort may increase after prolonged periods of standing, walking, or strenuous physical activity.

  • Limping: To minimize the pain, individuals with plantar fasciitis may develop a slight limp or altered gait.

Potential Causes of Plantar Fasciitis and Those at Risk?

Those at risk for heel pain and plantar fasciitis include: Runners, people with stiff ankles, higher body mass index, and either overly high or low arches are risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis. So if you are an overweight runner with stiff ankles OR any combination of these factors, you are predisposed to developing plantar fasciitis and foot pain. But don’t worry! There are ways to easily improve your symptoms and get you back to standing, walking, running, working, or doing whatever it is you want to do pain free!

How long does this take to heal?

Typically, plantar fasciitis can take anywhere from a few months to a year to fully heal depending on activity level, your co-morbidities and other physiologic factors. Luckily, with assistance and specific treatments, this time table could be significantly reduced. If your feet have been hurting for more than 2 weeks we usually recommend at least being evaluated by a physical therapist because by that point you probably won’t have significant relief with simple at home treatments. If left untreated, you run the risk of microtraumas accumulating which results in worsening symptoms potentially leading to more pain and limitations.

5 Ways to Improve your Plantar Fasciitis Pain

1. Stretch your big toes:

Maintaining a foot arch is extremely important. The easiest way to do that is to extend your big toe backwards. Big toe extension is a much better way to improve your foot and plantar fascia mobility than rolling a round object under the bottom of your foot. By increasing your mobility, you will be able to walk more efficiently and with less pain.

KinetikChain Denver CO Plantar Fasciitis Signs Symptoms and How To Get Relief 2

2. Stretch your ankles:

Stretching different parts of your lower extremities including your calf, ankles, and toes is extremely important in keeping your pain at bay. Stretching your calves as pictured below can help reduce the stress and load on the underside of the foot. 

KinetikChain Denver CO Plantar Fasciitis Signs Symptoms and How To Get Relief 1

3. Strengthening:

Strength plays a large part in the way we walk and carry our weight. When performing strength exercises, slow and heavy is the name of the game. Improving strength builds resilience not only in the feet but throughout the entire body. A great exercise to start with is heel raises. Start with doing heel raises on both feet together. Once you’ve mastered this, you can progress to single leg heel raises. As for strengthening areas further up the chain, pick your favorite leg exercise and do them! Because the best exercises are the ones that get done!

4. Proper Footwear:

Our feet take the shape of our shoes and it is not the other way around. Which is why we encourage our patients to wear wide toe box shoes, not narrow ones! ( see a wide toe box v narrow toe box comparison below) Narrow toe boxes push your big toe inward towards your lesser toes making it a lot harder for you to allow your big toe to extend back while walking (Not to mention they also run you the risk of getting bunions!). Which is why switching narrow toe box shoes out for wider ones will help you use your feet the way they were intended to be used. So ditch your heels and slip into something with a little more room for your toes to roam free.

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KinetikChain Denver CO Plantar Fasciitis Signs Symptoms and How To Get Relief

5. AND The Number 1 Fastest Way To Heal Plantar Fasciitis…

While the tips above are some of the most common ways to ease plantar fasciitis pain there are many different causes and without knowing more about what is causing the pain for sure they may or may not help.  If you’ve tried these tips and are still experiencing foot pain, schedule a visit with a Specialist Foot and Ankle (and Plantar Fasciitis) Physical Therapist! Our expert team of physical therapists can offer hands-on treatments, custom tailored exercises, taping and shoe suggestions, and many other effective ways to improve your symptoms, and get your back on your feet (pun intended)!

Recognizing these signs and symptoms is essential for early intervention. If you suspect you have plantar fasciitis, consult a foot and ankle specialist physical therapist for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Prompt attention to this condition can help you regain your mobility and alleviate the discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis.

If you found this article helpful and want more, contact KinetikChain Denver at (720) 651-0674.

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