What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis Pain

Plantar fasciitis (pronounced – PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is the inflammation of the plantar fascia.

The plantar fascia is a ligament on the base of the foot that supports the bones of the foot.

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Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis are:

  • pain and tenderness in the bottom of the heel;
  • pain at its worst (sharpest) first thing in the morning;
  • pain that progresses into a dull ache by the end of the day;
  • possible mild swelling;
  • heel pain after walking or standing for a long time;
  • pain that develops gradually;
  • pain that affects only one foot;
  • difficulty bending the toes towards the shin (called “dorsiflexion” of the foot).

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Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

You are more at risk of developing plantar fasciitis if:

  • you are overweight or have suddenly gained weight (e.g. during pregnancy);
  • you frequently walk or stand for a long time (in particular if on hard surfaces);
  • you your foot arches are excessively high or you have flat feet;
  • you have excessive pronation of your feet (your feet roll inwards when you walk);
  • you suffer from tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles;
  • you wear shoes that don’t fit correctly or are worn out, providing no cushioning or support;
  • you are are an athlete who runs long distances or has recently increased distances.

How Long is the Recovery from Plantar Fasciitis?

Early diagnosis and a structured treatment plan are key for curing plantar fasciitis.   If treatment is delayed or inadequate in the early stages of the condition, plantar fasciitis can take 6-18 months or more to be fully treated.  In most cases non-invasive treatment leads to a complete cure.   Only in the most extreme of cases is surgery required.

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Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

The first step is to eliminate the activity that caused the inflammation.  You should:

  • change your exercise routines to reduce stress on the plantar fascia;
  • rest, elevate and ice your foot repeatedly during the initial stages of treatment;
  • avoid running and walking, instead doing such activities as swimming and cycling;
  • consider a course of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen to help reduce pain and discomfort, although you must seek medical advice prior to taking any medication.

After completing the initial rest and recovery stage, you should adopt a holistic approach to treatment, attacking the injury from multiple angles.  These include:

 

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