By Bobbe Ann Crouch
One of the most common sources of heel pain, plantar fasciitis, causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. Under normal circumstances, the plantar fascia (the thick, fibrous band of tissue that runs from the heel bone to the toes) acts like a shock absorber, supporting the arch of the foot. If repetitive tension and stress on it becomes too great, small tears can arise, causing the fascia to become irritated or inflamed. In many cases of plantar fasciitis, the cause really isn’t clear. What is clear, however, is that it can cause intense, debilitating pain.
Most people who have plantar fasciitis recover with conservative treatments diligently applied over a period of time (usually several months). These include: rest; stretching and strengthening exercises such as repeatedly rolling the foot over a frozen water bottle or tennis ball to stretch the tissue; icing the area; and over-the-counter medications to ease the pain and inflammation. But if you are still experiencing pain, here are a few other treatment options to try.
1) Extracorporeal shock wave therapy directs sound waves to the area of pain in order to stimulate healing by increasing blood flow to the foot. It literally “stuns” the nerves to stop the pain.
2) A Tenex procedure uses an ultrasound to target and remove scar tissue and is minimally invasive and done on an outpatient basis. Most often it can be cured at home without extensive professional therapy. What seems to be most important in all treatment is continued diligence with stretching and exercise.
3) Simple lifestyle choices are also important in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Maintain a healthy weight in order to minimize stress on the tissue.
4) Replace athletic shoes before they’re worn out, and choose supportive shoes with good arch support.
5) Instead of high heels, choose moderate to low heels, and don’t go barefoot.