When you get that stabbing pain on your heel, you may be wondering how long it will last. Plantar Fasciitis can be difficult to deal with and you want it to go away as soon as possible. There are home remedies you can do, as well as wearing night splints or the right shoes to help ease the pain. Yet, Plantar Fasciitis does take time to heal on its own.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis happens when your plantar fascia becomes inflamed. The plantar fascia is located underneath your feet and is made up of ligaments and tendons. Together, these absorb shock when you walk and support your arch. The smallest part of the plantar fascia is where it meets your heel, which is why you feel stabbing heel pain first thing in the morning. This area is also most susceptible to micro tears.
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How Do You Get It?
Plantar Fasciitis happens when the plantar fascia is overstretched and overworked. When this happens, micro tears occur, which can have a hard time healing because every time you use your feet the chance that your plantar fascia is overworked is increased so the tears do not heal. Chronic micro tears can also lead to the plantar fascia degenerating over time.
An increase of weight on your plantar fascia puts you at risk for developing Plantar Fasciitis. This happens if you are overweight, obese, or sometimes it does happen during pregnancy. Runners are most prone to Plantar Fasciitis, especially long distance runners. If you do activities on hard floors, such as dancing or aerobics, you are also more likely to experience Plantar Fasciitis.
Other people who are more susceptible to Plantar Fasciitis are those who have high arches or flat feet. If you have either of these conditions, your plantar fascia does not absorb shock like it should. This causes the tendons and ligaments to become inflamed and eventually tear. Furthermore, tight calf muscles can also contribute to Plantar Fasciitis because it restricts your feet from moving properly. This can also cause strain on the plantar fascia.
How Long for the Heel Pain to be Gone
Every person’s Plantar Fasciitis is different, so you may experience shorter or longer healing time depending on the severity of your condition. The worst thing you can do for Plantar Fasciitis is nothing your symptoms. Rest is good, but you should also be actively trying to heal the condition. Generally, you can expect Plantar Fasciitis pain to last anywhere from two to three weeks. Sometimes pain can last up to six weeks because this is how long it takes the soft tissue to repair itself. Taking steps to reduce inflammation can shorten healing time for your Plantar Fasciitis.
When You Should See a Doctor
If you have been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis before, you may try a few home remedies before calling your doctor. If you have no experience with Plantar Fasciitis, you may want to call your doctor for an official diagnosis. However, if you have heel pain that comes with a fever, numbness, tingling, redness, or warmth in your heel, you should call your doctor immediately because this may be a sign of something more serious.
At the first signs of Plantar Fasciitis, rest your feet and ice them as soon as possible. Try doing a few home remedies over the period of a few days before or a couple weeks depending on how bad the pain is. If the pain does not seem to be getting better while you are trying these home remedies, or it gets worse, it is time to call your doctor. If after a couple weeks the pain is still present, then it is also time to call your doctor.
The doctor may recommend physical therapy to relieve the pain and inflammation of your plantar fascia. This may also work on strengthening your plantar fascia as well so it is more supportive when you move. In addition to physical therapy, the doctor may recommend corticosteroid shots. These shots are injected into the painful area to work directly on inflammation. The steroids work fast to reduce the pain and help heal the plantar fascia.
If you have tried all of the home remedies, medications, and injections, your doctor may require surgery. However, surgery is very rare as an average of only five out of 100 people needs it for their condition. Surgery is a last resort, so be sure to take this into consideration carefully. If you do need surgery, the doctor will make an incision in your foot and cut part of the plantar fascia. This is called a plantar fascia release. It relieves the inflammation and tension in the ligament. After you heal, you will be more comfortable and the chances of your Plantar Fasciitis returning will be minimal. There are potential complications with surgery, which is why it is a last resort but if you have been suffering from Plantar Fasciitis for years and nothing else works, surgery may be the only option.
What Makes Plantar Fasciitis Better
Rest is the first thing you should do when you first experience symptoms Plantar Fasciitis. Put your feet up and cut down on your exercise. If you are a runner, reduce the distance you are running and lower the speed. Stay off of your feet as much as possible to help the inflammation die down.
Ice your feet to help reduce pain and inflammation. Do not put ice directly on your feet, but you can give them an ice bath with a mixture of ice and water. Only leave your feet in here for about five to 10 minutes. Do not keep your feet in them for too long. If you prefer to put ice on your feet, use an ice pack and leave it on for 20 minutes at a time. After 20 minutes, take the ice pack off for 20 minutes so your feet get a break and can warm up again.
Stretching can help your Plantar Fasciitis as well. There are a variety of stretches that you can do for your plantar fascia that will help with pain and inflammation. Furthermore, doing them on a regular basis can stretch your plantar fascia out, which reduces the chances of micro tears.
Medications can help relieve the pain that comes from an inflamed plantar fascia as well. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are best to use, such as ibuprofen. Naproxen is also effective as a pain reliever. Always consult your doctor before taking new medications.
The right shoes will make a big difference when it comes to treating and healing Plantar Fasciitis. If you are not wearing the right shoes for your feet, the plantar fascia becomes strained and micro tears form. In addition, if your shoes are a few years old, or have been heavily worn, then it is time to replace them. Take a look at your shoes and see how much wear is on them. If there is a lot, this may be what is contributing to your condition.
Preventing Plantar Fasciitis
Prevention is important when it comes to Plantar Fasciitis. The right shoes are the first place to start. From there, try relaxing your calves and ankles when you are sitting, standing, walking, or running. If these areas are too strained, then it will pull on the back of your heel which strains your plantar fascia. Overstraining it will cause micro tears.
If you run, take note of each step you take. Try to run with a midfoot strike for the least amount of strain on your plantar fascia. If you walk, make sure to land on the front of your heel and roll your foot on the balls of your feet. For both of these, make sure your posture is straight and each foot lands under your center mass. Lead with your upper body and let your legs follow, not the other way around because this may cause injuries.
If you walk or run, try to do this on flat and even surfaces. A track is preferable because you do not want too hard of a surface. In addition, avoid running on trails or hills if your Plantar Fasciitis is flaring up.
Stretching and taking care of your feet will also help prevent Plantar Fasciitis. Stretch your feet as well as your lower and upper legs. The more flexible they are, the less strain there will be on your heel.
Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition that can last anywhere from two to six weeks. If it lasts longer or the pain gets worse, then it is a good time to call your doctor. Otherwise, try some home remedies, stretching, and taping to ease the pain and inflammation in the meantime.