Plantar fasciitis a painful problem

07/11/2011 6:17 PM

07/11/2011 6:22 PM

Plantar fasciitis affects an estimated 2 million Americans each year.

This painful condition usually develops gradually and occurs when the plantar fascia, a long, flat band of tissue that runs from the heel along the arch of the foot, becomes inflamed.

Symptoms usually are described as a sharp, burning or stabbing pain localized to the heel. Treatment options can range from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, night splints, to orthotics and surgery.

Here are some tips to deal with plantar fasciitis:

Never try to exercise through pain, as this can cause the problem to become long-term and debilitating. Be gentle on the feet and very slowly increase activity as you are able.

Check your shoes to make sure that they are not excessively worn. They should bend only at the ball of the foot, where your toes attach to the foot. Avoid shoes that bend in the center of the arch or behind the ball of the foot.

Gentle stretching exercises for the calf muscles and Achilles tendon will help stretch the plantar fascia. This should not be attempted when the heel is sore. Excessive stretching is not advised.

Stretching exercises may temporarily slightly increase pain. If more than a slight increase in pain is felt, however, it is important to see your doctor.

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