Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis) - An Overview
The plantar fascia is a dense ligament present at the bottom of our foot. When this ligament faces overstretching continuously, it may become inflamed, as well as painful, which is medically called “plantar fasciitis”. Although this condition is not dangerous, it can cause discomfort to the sufferers. In the following article, let’s discuss in detail about this condition here. Keep reading…
What causes plantar fasciitis?
To start with, the plantar fascia is a rigid ligament that runs along the length of our foot, that is, from the heel bone to the toes. Despite being a strong ligament, it doesn’t have much elasticity, therefore, repeated motions like running can cause overstretching, which will tear and pull the ligament away from your heel bone. In some cases, it can also overstretch or tear at your arch. 
In a majority of cases, the symptoms of plantar fasciitis will start gradually. However, after some weeks, the pain will start getting worse and will not subside. Although you will not find any swelling or bruising in the region, you can feel the tenderness whenever you put high pressure on the heel pad or the arch.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include  :
- Sharp pain felt at the bottom/side of the heel or at the arch
- Pain that becomes worse in the mornings or after some period of rest
- Pain that becomes worse after standing/walking/running for a long time
The pain that is caused by plantar fasciitis can last for several weeks to months and can be mild or severe. The condition will most likely subside on its own. However, it will take several months or even longer to go away completely.
How is it diagnosed?
A physician will usually diagnose the condition by examining your foot and asking you for the symptoms. Additionally, he may order for an imaging study if he suspects that the symptoms are due to other conditions like the stress fracture. 
What are the risk factors for plantar fasciitis?
There are several factors that can increase the chances of getting plantar fasciitis. They include:
- Heavy bodyweight
- Specific sports activities:
- Walking long
- Age: 40 to 60 years
- Atypical foot mechanics
- Tight Achilles tendon
- Excessive flattening of feet
- Standing or walking all day
- Inappropriate footwear
- Sudden changes in activities
What can you do to prevent plantar fasciitis?
There are a few things to do to prevent plantar fasciitis. They include:
- Wearing supportive shoes
- Wearing slightly high heel shoes
- Avoiding to walk barefoot
- Losing weight
How can you treat plantar fasciitis?
As mentioned earlier, plantar fasciitis will go away by itself, but it may take up to three to twelve months to heal completely. But, there are some treatments that can help you heal faster. Let’s have a look at those here:
- Rest your foot for at least two to six weeks. Decrease your frequency of standing, walking, and running.
- While you are resting your feet, try to do exercises that do not stretch the arch. Examples include swimming and cycling.
- Use footwear that supports the foot. We recommend you use a combination of supportive shoes and arch supports.
- Take over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen to help manage the pain and discomfort.
- Massage the painful region with ice for at least two to three minutes, several times a day.
- Stretch the calf muscles and Achilles tendon before and after exercising.
Non-Surgical Medical Treatments:
If the above-mentioned home remedies do not resolve your symptoms, you can try some additional treatments, which are as follows: 
There are some plantar fasciitis soft night stretching socks readily available to help manage and relieve your plantar fasciitis pain while resting and sleeping. These stretching socks are specially designed to keep your heel stretched, thereby helping to alleviate pain and discomfort. You can wear these stretching socks comfortably during the night or day as you are sleeping or resting.
You can try getting a cortisone injection to help reduce the inflammation and pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
In a majority of cases, non-surgical treatments will be effective. However, in some cases, the symptoms can be so severe that these treatments haven’t worked for six to nine months, thus, leading to the surgery. The surgical procedure called “Plantar fascia release surgery” will be performed, wherein a part of the plantar fascia will be cut to relieve some of the ligament tension. It can be performed as either endoscopic surgery or traditional open incision surgery.