Many people suffer from an almost unbearable pain in one or both of their heels at some point. The most common culprit is known as plantar fasciitis, and in reality, it is much more common than many people realize. This particular ligament located on the bottom of the feet is the real culprit behind the pain that millions of people each and every day suffer from.

The long tissue band that connects the heel bone to the toes is known as the plantar fascia ligament. It is usually thick and flexible, however, people young and old frequently damage this ligament on either one or both feet. When the plantar fascia ligament sustains any damage, even the smallest of micro tears, it can cause very intense and sharp stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot and the heel.

When a person damages their plantar fascia ligament it can take a significant amount of time to fully heal. The reason for such a long recovery time is because of the plantar fascia ligaments function and purpose. When a person stands, all one hundred percent of that person’s body weight is on their feet, and the arches in a person’s feet support their weight by expanding and contracting based on the amount of pressure being applied. 

When a person moves from a sitting position to a standing position, the plantar fascia ligament on the bottom of each foot absorbs the weight and pressure of that movement by expanding and contracting, similar to a rubber band being stretched and released. If the pressure is too repetitive and too intense, then the rubber band will start to incur tiny tears. This mirrors the plantar fascia ligament in each foot when a person takes a step, runs, or stands up after sitting for long periods. Just like a rubber band, once the plantar fascia ligament has acquired even the smallest of tears, it is exponentially more likely to tear again or tear more severely.

If a person gets plantar fasciitis it is critical that they treat it and pay close attention to what activities caused the pain to flare up in the first place. Ignoring this condition can end up imperceptibly altering a person’s way of walking to avoid pain from the plantar fascia ligament damage. An altered gait can cascade into problems in the back and knee in the future. Ignoring plantar fasciitis can also inevitably lead to permanent severe heel and foot pain.

There are multiple ways to help reduce plantar fasciitis pain and to treat the damaged ligament or ligaments. One very useful thing to do first is to consult a medical doctor and have imaging tests and x-rays done to rule out any other conditions that could be causing the foot and heel pain. This will also help to confirm that it is plantar fasciitis and not something else. Once plantar fasciitis has been confirmed there are countless ways to treat it and to help reduce the pain and swelling of the plantar fascia ligament and the foot or feet affected. 

One way to guarantee reduced stress on the plantar fascia ligament is to lose weight; this will inevitably reduce the amount of pressure put on the ligament with each step. Hard surfaces are especially painful to walk on for people with plantar fasciitis. If possible try to avoid walking very much on these surfaces and definitely do not walk on hard surfaces barefooted. At home, one hard surface that is bad for the arches and ligaments in the feet is the bathtub or shower. Textured shower mats can help reduce the impact on a person's feet when they take a shower as well as help prevent slips and falls.

One thing that is very effective in reducing pain is stretching and strengthening the foot muscles with plantar fasciitis stretching tools. These portable and lightweight devices help to stretch the right parts of the foot or feet to reduce stress on the plantar fascia ligaments. By doing this, the level of pain can be significantly reduced in just a matter of minutes. Using foot stretching tools correctly and consistently will help allow the foot to heal properly faster. Another way to help alleviate heel and foot pain at home is to roll your foot back and forth over a frozen plastic water bottle.

Choice of proper footwear is critical to the recovery of the plantar fascia ligament so it is important that people with plantar fasciitis try to find shoes that have great arch support or can comfortably fit arch-supporting insoles. Try to stay away from high impact sports until your ligaments have fully healed because it is immensely easy to reinjure the plantar fascia ligament if it is not allowed to fully and properly heal.

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