The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

What is Plantar Fasciitis and How Often Do I Need to Water It?

Posted by on Thursday, March 15th, 2012

We are almost at the midpoint of March, and that’s a sure sign of spring (another sure sign: a Chihuaha wearing a light sweater instead of a parka). With greener days ahead of us, it’s time to start thinking of things like gardening. In fact, I think it’s almost time to go out and plantar my fasciitis.

Wait, I’m sorry–did you just say that plantar fasciitis is a foot injury, not a plant? Are you sure? Does it involve growing flowers on your foot? No? Well, I guess it’s time to find out what it means to have plantar fasciitis!

What is plantar fasciitis? I bet it’s really awesome. I love the consecutive “i“s in fasciitis. No, it is not awesome despite the vowels gone wild in fasciitis. It’s a foot injury, which is never awesome.

First, how do you pronounce this intriguing phrase when you ask your questions about it? Confidently say “PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus” (make sure you nail that “p” sound at the beginning).  The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. Excessive strain on the plantar fascia can lead to tiny tears in the tissue. That is plantar fasciitis.

Okay, that is not awesome at all, despite the impressive feat of spelling. How does it happen? Well, some people are naturally prone to plantar fasciitis–those with either flat feet or high arches, or who roll their feet inward as they walk have a tendency to develop plantar fasciitis. A tight Achilles tendon or tight calf muscles can also lead to plantar fascia problems (it’s all connected…).

You are also more likely to develop plantar fasciitis if you are overweight, or if you have a job where you spend a lot of time on your feet–think salesclerk, restaurant worker, soldier, etc. Running and walking on very hard, non-giving surfaces can also be tough on your plantar fascia. So, for example, if you are an extremely large person who spends a lot of time running and jumping on your feet on very hard surfaces, then you are really asking for plantar fascia trouble. This means you, professional basketball players. Basically, anything that is going to put a lot of pressure on your feet a lot is a potential cause for alarm.

Oh, and another cause? Shoes that don’t fit right!!! It always comes down to that, doesn’t it?

How do I know I have this dreadful thing? The first tip is foot pain, especially when you take your first few steps after getting up in the morning or stand up from sitting after a while. The pain will get worse if you stand for a long time, and may be especially noticeable walking up stairs.

Running Injury Free notes that you likely will not feel it while you’re running, but afterwards which is just the worst kind of injury for a runner to have, because then you keep running (“Well, it doesn’t hurt when I run, so it’s okay for me to run, right?”). They also recommend testing for plantar fasciitis by pressing on the center of your heel to see if that hurts. If your pain is located in that area, you may have plantar fasciitis. The best way to find out for sure if you have plantar fasciitis though, is to see a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine.

Oh no! I DO have plantar fasciitis! How do I get rid of it?! This is a tough injury, because some treatments work for some people and others work for others. It may take a little bit of tinkering to figure out what works for you. The one universal given, though, is rest. Do whatever you can to take all that stress off your foot. Cut back on running, jumping, and walking, especially on hard surfaces. You can ice your foot and take over the counter anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You can also work on loosening up your calf muscles with some calf and Achilles tendon stretches.

Podiatrists such as those at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine may recommend wearing orthotics or arch supports. If the pain is excessive and persists, they may give you an injection of a steroid to ease the pain. Surgery is rarely required for plantar fasciitis.

What is required, though, is time and patience. It can take months for pain from plantar fasciitis to go away, especially because it’s so difficult for so many people to really get off their feet as much as required. If it’s part of your job, what can you do? You just have to deal with the pain and play through the season

I don’t have patience, so it’s probably not a good idea for me to have plantar fasciitis. Indeed. Avoid it by taking a look at the causes listed above. Do your best to keep your weight under control so you’re not putting so much pressure on your plantar fascia. Make sure your shoes fit and if you have a job that requires a lot of standing, make sure you wear shoes that offer your feet a lot of support.

If you think you have plantar fasciitis, or any other problems with your feet, contact us at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet.

If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.