Foot Pain Is The Worst
September 10, 2013

Foot Pain Is The Worst

Recently, one of my family members found out he had plantar fasciitis. I had never heard of this particular health issue before, so I figured I should write about it. I mean, I can’t be the only person to have never heard of it before, right? So, here is the lowdown on planter fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain.

First of all, just what is it? As the Mayo Clinic explains, “Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.” Specifically, those who suffer from this feel a stabbing pain especially in the morning when they first wake up. Once the foot limbers a bit, the pain decreases but can return if standing for a long time or rising from a seated position.

And who does plantar fasciitis affect? The Mayo Clinic says that it is common in runners, those who are overweight, pregnant women, and those who wear shoes with inadequate support. WebMD adds that people who are on their feet a lot often suffer from it as well, and though it is most common in middle-aged people, the younger and older generations suffer from it too.

What causes this excruciating heel pain? WebMD states that it “is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling.” It is more likely to occur if one rolls his feet inward when he walks, has high arches or flat feet, has a tight Achilles tendon or calf muscles, or falls into one of the categories mentioned for those it affects.

How is plantar fasciitis treated? Well, there are several options as listed by the Mayo Clinic. These include medications, therapies, and surgery. As for the medications, some doctors may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or Aleve. In some cases, the sufferer may have to receive a corticosteroid injection or skin solution. The therapies include stretching, physical therapy, night splints, walking cast, or orthotics. My sister-in-law works for a chiropractor and says that they can help with plantar fasciitis as well. Surgery may be needed as a last resort if the medications and therapies do not alleviate the pain.

A few months ago, redOrbit reported on another innovative treatment called FasciaDerm®, which is “an ultra-thin, micro-fiber support system, designed to adhere to the foot, to provide direct support to the plantar fascia. It can be comfortably worn all-day, during all active hours, to aid in pain management and recovery.”

WebMD provides some great advice on how to prevent plantar fasciitis.

  • Take care of your feet. Wear shoes with good arch support and heel cushioning. If your work requires you to stand on hard surfaces, stand on a thick rubber mat to reduce stress on your feet.
  • Do exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. This is especially important before sports, but it is helpful for nonathletes as well. Ask your doctor about recommendations for a stretching routine.
  • Stay at a healthy weight for your height.
  • Establish good exercise habits. Increase your exercise levels gradually, and wear supportive shoes.
  • If you run, alternate running with other sports that will not cause heel pain.
  • Put on supportive shoes as soon as you get out of bed. Going barefoot or wearing slippers puts stress on your feet.

This must be an incredibly painful thing to experience especially if you have a job that requires standing or walking. My family member is in retail, which demands lots of standing and walking. Plus, he used to run and has high arches. It seems the cards were definitely stacked against him.

Now that I know about plantar fasciitis, I will definitely be more aware of my feet. As a jogger and walker with high arches, I do not want to have such pain.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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