Have you ever experienced pain in the inner heel of your foot when you take that first step in the morning? If you have, then you might be suffering from a condition known as “plantar fasciitis”.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue located in the sole of your foot that helps maintain the arch of your foot. This band of tough, fibrous tissue starts from your heel bone and goes all the way towards the ball of your foot. Plantar fasciitis is considered an overuse condition of this fascia at its insertion in the heel bone.
Oftentimes, the condition is first noted after a sudden increase in one’s body weight or after suddenly increasing one’s running or jogging mileage. It may also arise in situations where one has to stand for long periods of time on a hard surface. The pain is located in the inner part of the heel and it is worse after a period of rest. Thus, the pain is often worse during that first step in the morning after awakening or even during that first step after prolonged sitting. As one continues to walk, the pain lessens.
The pain is also present when using hard insoles. It is more painful to walk barefooted on a concrete floor than on a carpeted floor. When x-rays of the heel are taken, a heel spur is often seen but contrary what many believe, this is usually not the cause of the pain.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis involves daily stretching of the fascia and the heel cord. In addition, the use of a soft insole with a cushioned heel cup and an arch support would help relieve the pain. When going out for long walks, use a pair of running shoes instead of your regular shoes. And instead of using thin-soled slippers when you’re at home, try using footwear that have softer insoles (footwear such as rubber clogs is an example). It often takes a few months of daily stretching before the condition resolves.
Dr. Jofe Syquia is the founder and President of the Advanced Orthopedics for Joint Replacement (AOJR) - a group of internationally trained orthopedic surgeons dedicated to improving the quality of life of patients by relieving them of joint pain caused by various arthritic conditions. For more details, contact (+632) 3318888.