Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis, commonly called heel pain, is a condition of the foot that causes sharp pain in the heel area or across the entire sole of the foot. It is caused by small tears in the plantar fascia ligament, the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes.

A common symptom of plantar fasciitis is severe pain in the feet when taking the first steps after getting out of bed or when getting up from a chair after sitting for a length of time.

The pain is a result of the stretching out of the plantar fascia after it has been in the shortened position while in a lying down or seated position. The toes of the feet point downward, away from the ankle. This causes the plantar fascia to be in the shortened position.

When the foot goes from this position to a standing position, the plantar fascia stretches to a longer length. Because the plantar fascia is damaged, this stretching causes sharp pain as the small tears are reopened.
There are several treatments for this painful condition:

Night Splints

One of the best treatments for plantar fasciitis is to keep the tissue in a stretched position, without allowing it to contract for any length of time.
Night splits can be worn while in bed. Although they take some getting used to, they work very well to keep the foot in a right angle position. This prevents the toes from being pointed away from the shin, which allows the plantar fascia to contract. On waking up, the night splints are removed just before the first steps are taken. Many people report a marked reduction in morning pain when night splints are worn.

Stretching Exercises

Deliberately stretching the plantar fascia ( is another way to ease painful symptoms.

Stand with your hands on the kitchen counter and your feet about twelve inches from the base of the counter. Move the painful foot backwards about eighteen inches. Slowly stretch the heel toward the floor. Hold that position for twenty to thirty seconds. If the other foot is affected, switch feet. Repeat three times.

Doing this exercise several times a day, even every hour during the day, will keep the plantar fascia stretched. Doing this exercise each time the heel pain is excessive will give some measure of relief.

Icing and Taking Anti-Inflammatories

Soaking the sore foot in ice water can relieve some of the pain. This treatment helps to reduce the swelling of the plantar fascia.
Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine will also bring some temporary relief.

In spite of your best efforts, plantar fasciitis can take months, even years, to heal. The recovery period requires patience. If the condition is severe, a visit to the podiatrist may be in order.