1 in 10 People Develop This in Their Lifetime
When 49-year-old Canadian, Connie Glen, started getting pain in her heel, she never imagined it was caused by exercises performed in a new, twice-weekly barre class. According to an online article in the Globe and Mail, she had been doing yoga and Pilates on a regular basis so she was used to stretching. However, the new, barre class incorporated a lot of stretching while on tip-toes and this action had put too much tension on the soft tissue—known as plantar fascia—in the arches of her feet causing plantar fasciitis.
Classic Signs of Plantar Fasciitis
Soon, getting out of bed in the mornings was becoming an excruciating experience. A classic sign of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel or arch upon weight-bearing first thing in the morning or after extended periods of rest. The pain may intensify during exercise or when climbing stairs. If left untreated, scar tissue may form over the damaged fascia leading to chronic pain which is harder to treat.
Sudden changes or increases in exercise are not the only causes of plantar fasciitis; excessive weight (or pregnancy), high arches, or over-pronated (flat) feet are causative factors. This condition is also commonly seen in people whose jobs involve climbing ladders or standing for long periods of time.
Seek Treatment Early
If treated early, exercises and anti-inflammatory medication may resolve the problem. Exercises include stretching the fascia by pulling the toes up toward the shin and doing calf muscle stretches. These can be reinforced at night time with taping or a night splint that supports the foot in a flexed position. Rolling the foot over a frozen water bottle can also help relieve the pain.
If conservative treatment is ineffective, consult a specialist like Toronto-based podiatrist, Sheldon H. Nadal, D.P.M., for further advice. He may suggest treatment with ultrasound, cortisone injections, orthotics, laser pain therapy, or extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT). For chronic cases of plantar fasciitis he may recommend minimally invasive surgery to release the plantar fascia. This would take place in his office with just a local anaesthetic.