If you wake up in the morning and experience a sharp pain in your heels when you first get out of bed, it is likely you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, or heel pain as it is often called. On the underside of your feet there is a layer of thick tissue called plantar fascia, that runs from the heel to the toes, and if this becomes inflamed, it causes a sharp pain in the heel area. The task of this tissue is to provide support when walking and if it is worked excessively, it will likely lead to an inflammation, which is known as plantar fasciitis.
This painful condition can be caused by a number of factors, which include the following:
- Long distance running or extreme jumping.
- Those aged between 40-70 are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis.
- Pregnancy can cause the condition.
- Standing for long periods.
- Poor stance and walking posture.
Any of the above can cause plantar fasciitis and should you experience a sharp pain first thing in the morning or at the end of a tiring day, you should consult with an orthotist, who can diagnose the problem and suggest a suitable form of treatment.
Range of Effective Treatments
There are numerous treatments for plantar fasciitis, which are listed below.
Orthotics Shoe Inserts
Perhaps the most common plantar fasciitis treatment is wearing special orthotics inserts in the shoes. These devices provide essential arch support and can be sourced from an online supplier, and if you invest in a few pairs, you can insert them into your shoes and house slippers, which will ensure that you always have that much needed additional support. The inserts can be trimmed with scissors to ensure a good fit, and you should avoid walking barefoot, as this can result in damage to the plantar fascia, which will only make the problem worse.
Cortisone Steroid Injections
Many sports people have regular cortisone steroid injections, which does bring immediate relief, although this treatment does address the underlying cause of the problem. If a person is in considerable pain, then a course of cortisone injections would be recommended, while at the same time, the orthotist would find out what is causing it by carrying out a thorough examination.
This could be a traditional form of treatment, or the more popular electroacupuncture, which is said to be very effective. In some cases, there are other symptoms, such as a trapped nerve or numbness in the toes, and acupuncture can provide effective relief.
A relatively new treatment, shockwave therapy involves a specialist directing therapeutic shockwaves onto the affected area, which stimulates the natural healing process that occurs when the plantar fascia is overworked. This non-invasive treatment is popular when the condition is severe and is highly recommended when all other forms of treatment have failed to produce a result.
The Strassburg Sock
This device is worn at night and consists of a sock that has two adjustable straps that enable the wearer to keep tension on the plantar fascia, and when the person wakes in the morning and gets out of bed, the ligaments are already stretched, which eliminates that sharp pain that normally comes when the ligaments are stretched after a long period of inactivity.
In rare cases, surgery is recommended to treat plantar fasciitis, which involves the surgeon making a precise incision into the plantar fascia, which releases the pressure. If you are experiencing pain in your heels when you first get out of bed or after a long day at work, you are advised to see a specialist who can diagnose the cause and recommend suitable treatment.