Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

Pain in the bottom of the foot, in particular in the heel and the arches are common plantar fasciitis symptoms, and are due to a problem with the ligament which runs from the heel of the foot to the toes.

The problem affects the plantar fascia. This is a thick band of connective tissue which keeps the bones of the foot positioned correctly.  Plantar fasciitis is the term given to inflammation of this ligament. The most common source of pain is where this ligament connects to the heel of the foot and also to the base of the toes.  Pain is usually felt around 4-5cm forwards from the heel.  The heels and the side of the feet can be painful when walking and also painful when pressed.

Plantar fasciitis symptoms range in severity from patient to patient and can range from mild intermittent discomfort to intense pain depending on the severity of the condition. Usually the pain is at its worse in the mornings after time off the feet, however can improve throughout the course of the day. Often the problem does not go away and develops into a dull persistent ache by the evening. Whilst very light exercise and stretching can ease the pain, long exercise sessions can make the pain more severe, and it can be one of the most frustrating problems trying to achieve the correct balance. Resting the feet is one of the best ways to relieve pain.

Generally many people do not consider the problem to be of a severity which warrants visiting a doctor, and many patients who finally seek medical treatment have had the condition for several months. Plantar fasciitis symptoms are often intermittent, certainly early on in the disorder however if corrective steps are not taken the plantar fasciitis symptoms can become more pronounced.  Whilst the body can heal the condition naturally, this is usually a very slow process and in the meantime further damage occurs.

The condition is usually the result of a sports injury with many cases coming from professional and amateur sportsmen and women, however it is increasingly common with those who exercise, and can also affect people who exercise very little.  When exercise is not performed regularly, even a small amount of work can result in the development of the problem.

Due to the location of the problem, most commonly in the heel of the foot, it is a difficult condition for the body to correct without medical attention. It is rarely possible for sufferers to stay off the feet for a long period which is the best course of action to take when suffering from pain in the heel.

Plantar fasciitis is a common disorder and it has been calculated that one in ten people suffer from it at some stage in their lives. It is more common in people who are overweight, due to the extra forces exerted on the plantar fascia. Normally during the process of walking and running, the pressure placed on this part of the foot can be equivalent to two or three times the weight of the body, and whilst the connective tissue is robust and can stretch considerably without rupturing additional body weight increases the forces and can often result in damage.

The main solution to the problem is to use orthotic soles in the shoes, and to avoid walking barefoot which will aggravate the problem. The arches of the feet need to be very well supported. The heels of the shoes should have a high degree of cushioning. Modern trainers can help to lessen the problem when walking, provided they are replaced regularly as the foot cushioning decreases over time. Exercise should be avoided when suffering from the condition as exerting further pressure on the foot can cause more damage.

Gentle stretching exercises which aim to stretch the Achilles Heel can help, as tightness in the muscles at the back of the foot often accompany the problem.  Painkillers can often help to reduce the pain, with anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen one of the better options. Some patients find that Ibuprofen gel is one of the best treatments when rubbed into the affected area. For those not wishing to take painkillers or who have an allergy, holding an icepack on the heel for 15 minutes will help to ease the pain. The problem is often treated with steroid injections in the doctor’s surgery.