Living with plantar fasciitis

The plantar fascia in your foot acts as a shock absorber, but tension can cause small tears in it, which can be very painful and hard to live with. Dr. Pedro Cosculluela, an orthopedic surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital, explains what you can do about it.

"A lot of time when we see heel pain here, it's something called plantar fasciitis, and it's an irritation of a ligament on the bottom of the heel," says Dr. Cosculluela. "It goes from all the way to the toe, and the main function is to support our arch when we're on our toes. What happens, and we don't know why, we see it in all ages, both sexes, all weight classes, athletes, non-athletes, sedentary people. For some reason, that ligament gets irritated and it causes pain. Typical pain is that first pain in the morning, or if you sit for a long time and stand up, going through my second episode. It gets irritated but you don't have to cut back on running."

The great thing is you don't have to resort to bed rest to help the problem. If you're able to push through the pain, it can sometimes help to keep on going. 

"You're not causing any harm to your fun by remaining active," explains Dr. Cosculluela. "It's unfortunately not going to shorten the length of your typical fasciitis episode, which usually lasts 8-to-12 months. The best thing to do for it is skillful neglect. If you're actively involved in the process, you'll spend tons of money on shoe wear changes, pads, splints, anti-inflammatories, creams, icing. All of those things help with a certain episode of pain, but they don't make the length of the problem be any shorter."

It might be reassuring to hear that since it usually gets better, time is on your side.      

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