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The plantar fascia functions like a shock absorber, supporting the arch in your foot. Supportive shoes should be worn to protect your feet. Repetitive stretching or tearing can cause the plantar fascia to become inflamed. As it becomes further inflamed, you will feel a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. The pain becomes especially worse after exercising. This is known as plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is the inflammation of the thick tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Stabbing pain is usually experienced as you take your first steps in the morning. Once you get out of bed and your feet hit the floor, there is no denying the ongoing plantar fasciitis pain. Your first few steps in the morning can be excruciating, but as you get up and move more, the pain subsides. However, if you experience long periods of standing or sitting, the pain may become unbearable again.
Athletes who do a lot of hard running can be prone to this type of injury if they wear athletic shoes with very little support. Failing to properly stretch before the game or event can also cause runners to have more issues. Athletes who participate in long-distance running, ballistic jumping activities, ballet and aerobic dance are also prone to plantar fasciitis. If you have an occupation that keeps you on your feet on hard surfaces for long periods of time, you should also be sure you are wearing shoes with excellent support. Moving around from time to time instead of standing in the same place should help distribute the pressure in your feet. If you ignore the pain or fail to take supportive steps for your feet, you could eventually develop foot, knee or back problems.
Talk to your doctor
If you have been experiencing lots of stabbing pain near the heel of your foot, it is important to talk with your doctor, who can suggest the best course of treatment. A night splint can stretch the calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep. However, you will want to be careful about how much stretching your foot experiences as it could further aggravate the existing injury. Your doctor may even suggest arch supports to distribute the pressure on your feet more evenly.
If you work in a kitchen for long periods of time, your doctor may even suggest getting chef mats to stand on to cushion your feet as you cook. Taking frequent breaks during which you are sitting will take the constant pressure off of your feet. However, you will want to be sure that you do not sit for long periods of time, as that can be just as bad as standing for long periods of time. Sometimes, the more you move around and change positions, the more likely you may feel relief from your stabbing pain. Your doctor may even suggest physical therapy to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon to strengthen the lower leg muscles. This will also stabilize the ankle and heel.
Should your pain become completely unbearable, your doctor can take an X-ray or an MRI to check for stress fractures or pinched nerves. You can also be evaluated for the possibility of having steroid injections, taking prescription pain medication or even having surgery.
After your doctor determines how severe your plantar faciitis is and your course of treatment, you may be given some suggestions regarding how to keep your pain under control in between checkups. If you have not been prescribed any painkillers or anti-inflammatory medication, you will likely be directed to take over-the-counter ibuprofen and naproxen sodium as needed and as directed.
The RICE method is always popular when treating any type of bodily injury. After you feel the pain coming on, it is best to sit and rest. Icing the area where you feel the pain is one of the best ways to spend your resting time. If you have done a lot of icing throughout your time of injury, you can also try heating the area where you feel the pain. However, that is not suggested if you are experiencing swelling. Applying heat can make the swelling worse. Sometimes compressing the area where you feel the pain also helps. However, do not go out and purchase a compress without asking your doctor what type is suggested. Sometimes compressing an injured area too tightly can do more harm than good as well. Elevation can also ease pain and swelling. You will want to be sitting in a recliner or on a couch that reclines when elevating your feet. It is usually suggested that your injury is elevated above your heart for best results. If you are reclining and you find that your feet are not high enough, you can always prop them up under pillows. However, you will want to be sure to keep your comfort in mind. Should your feet be elevated too high, it could make it difficult for you to get out of the chair. You could even fall when trying to get up.
Many people have suggested taking a liter-sized plastic water bottle, filling it with water and freezing it. Take your shoe off the injured foot, but keep the sock on. Take the frozen water bottle and roll it back and forth under your foot. This helps you get the movement your foot needs to work out the pain, and the ice helps bring down the swelling. This is better than sitting stationary with an ice pack under your foot. The more you move, the more the pain of plantar faciitis works itself out.