What does plantar fasciitis feel like? There are many ways to describe it. It can range from a minor annoyance that sometimes go away completely to a debilitating pain that makes walking impossible. PF pain has recently sidelined well-known football players — and it keep regular moms and dads around the world from seeing their kids off to school because it hurts so much in the mornings.
One way it manifests itself is as what feels like a stone bruise — that is, a pain on the bottom of the foot that seems like you stepped on a stone. This can be caused by metatarsal pain and many other things, but there’s a good chance it’s PF pain.
If the pain is worse in the morning or when getting up after sitting for a long time, that makes it even more likely it’s PF pain. And if the pain also worsens after standing, walking or working on your feet for a long time, it’s surely plantar fasciitis and perhaps a related heel spur.
What Causes PF Pain?
Plantar fasciitis pain has a number of causes, some not completely understood. They include:
- wearing shoes that don’t support your feet, like flip flops or cheap discount-store footwear
- an arch that has flattened over time
- an arch that’s higher than average
- a tight Achilles tendon
The pain is caused by the swelling of the plantar fascia itself — a band that goes under your foot and connects your heel to your toe — or by microtrauma to the band from crossing through the heel bone while swollen. A heel spur can be the result of this trauma and can cause additional pain.
Your Treatment Options
Treating heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and other similar conditions can be as simple as making a few changes in your footwear and your lifestyle. Important changes you can make include:
- getting better, more supportive shoes
- using orthotics or shoe insoles
- doing stretching or strengthening exercises
- treating acute pain with ice
- resting your feet during the worst flare ups
- using night splints to prevent nighttime swelling
- taking anti-inflammatory medicine
- getting steroid injections
- taking physical therapy treatments.
If these things don’t provide relief, surgery is also an option.
A minimally invasive endoscopic procedure can release the band. The other option is an open release that involves an incision on each side of the heel or on the bottom of the foot, but this procedure requires a long recovery time. A portion of the band is removed during this second procedure and can solve recurring problems that don’t respond to other treatments.
But obviously, trying other treatments first is a good idea.
You may be able to solve your PF pain and eliminate that feeling of a stone bruise by changing your footwear and your lifestyle — and that’s a lot simpler and less expensive than surgery.