There are many injuries that can occur in your foot, but the most common one is plantar fasciitis.  Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia (connective tissue), where it attaches on the bottom of the heel.

Inflammation can be caused by several factors: poor arch support or a change in shoes, a sudden change in activity level (going from a sedentary to standing/walking position), an increase in weight such as pregnancy or weakness in the muscles of the lower leg.

There is no test to diagnose plantar fasciitis, thus it is diagnosed mainly through its symptoms.  Most people complain of sharp of dull pain in the heel or arch of their foot. The pain typically occurs first thing in the morning upon getting out of bed; getting up from sitting; or pain when on your feet.  The pain can be severe enough that people cannot put weight through their foot.

There are a variety of treatments to help resolve the symptoms of planter fasciitis.  For most it takes a combination of treatments to alleviate the pain.  

Shoes: First, make sure you have the proper arch and cushioning in your shoes. Shoes can be expensive to replace, an alternative is to by inserts. Orthotics commonly prescribed are customs fit insoles. These can run between $200-$300.  Over the counter inserts can work just as well and can save money.

Stretching Foot: It’s beneficial to stretch your foot and calf before you get out of bed or out of a chair. This loosens the fascia prior to putting weight through your foot.  Perform this by pointing your toes and foot up and down, and then wriggling and scrunching your toes. Do this several times before placing weight through your foot. 

Night splints :  The overall goal is to keep the fascia stretched out while you sleep. These splints work for the majority of the population, however the main complain is they are uncomfortable to sleep in.

Standing Calf Stretches:. The stretch involves placing one foot back and one-foot forward about 2 feet apart, then leaning forward keeping the back leg straight. The stretch should be felt in the calf of the back leg. Hold the stretch for 10- 15 seconds, and then perform the same stretch with the back knee slightly bent.

Massage/Icing. Taking a tennis ball, racket ball or frozen water bottle to massage the heel and arch of your foot.  Place the ball/water bottle on the floor, with bare feet apply as much pressure as tolerated. It is painful initially, but the pain should subside and the foot feels better afterwards. If you are lucky enough to have a spouse or friend massage your foot that works great as well. 

Taping: Every health practitioner has their favorite technique with each one alleviating symptoms. Search Youtube to find one that works for you.

Dry Needling:  This techniques used by Physical Therapists and Physicians, applies thin needles along plantar surface of your foot. It is scientifically supported to reduce inflammation and reduce tension in soft tissue.

Other treatments include cortisone injections and anti-inflammatories medication. Most treatments aren’t 100 % effective on their own. Knowing what to do in order to take an active approach with plantar fasciitis will help resolve symptoms. Remember this injury can take time to heal but following the above strategies will help your feet return to pain free activities sooner than later.