Dealing with the pain

  • Published
  • By Physical therapy clinic
  • 23rd Medical Group
Physical therapy helps deal with pain throughout the body, the most common type being foot pain. The majority of foot pain is located on the bottom and inside of the heel, this is called plantar fasciitis

Called plantar fascilities, it is characterized by irritation of the plantar fascia, a thick ligament located on the bottom of the foot, originating from the heel bone and moving onto the toes. The purpose of this ligament is to provide shock absorption and support of the foot arch.

Pain in the heel is especially worse in the morning, making the first few steps out of bed very painful.

The pain may also be experienced upon standing after a prolonged period and may improve throughout the day by walking or with activity. Localized swelling and tenderness are also commonly observed.

The onset of heel pain is associated with a number of reasons. Risk factors include the following:
- Abnormally high or low foot arches
- Overweight or sudden increased in weight
- Inappropriate shoe wear, offering minimal support during physical activity or leisure
- Lack of flexibility, especially at the achilles tendon and plantar fascia
- Inappropriate and sudden changes in high impact training or surface

The treatment for plantar fasciitis is usually addressed conservatively. Common approaches include the following:
- Ice, applied after exercise and twice a day for 15 minutes
- Stretching of the plantar fascia and achilles tendon three to five times per day, for 30 to 45 seconds
- Reducing frequency, intensity, and duration of the activity
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as naproxen, or ibuprofen as directed
- Over-the-counter heel cups
- Appropriate shoes for fitness activities, work and leisure

Approximately 98 percent of people with plantar fasciitis will experience significant improvement within six to nine months.

A smaller percentage may require cortisone injections or a surgical intervention.

For more information, contact the 23rd Medical Group physical therapy clinic at 229-257-7393. Suggested tretches are also available through the 23rd MDG SharePoint physical therapy page, located under medical operations squadron clinical services.