Chronic foot pain afflicts millions. For many, it so significantly diminishes quality of life some even opt for surgery as they believe there is little hope for an alternative remedy. Plantar fasciitis, for example, is a painful inflammation of the heel sometimes generated by maladies in pronation or undue pressure in the feet and lower extremities. If left untreated, it can tear and damage surrounding foot tissue potentially to the point of disability. Reports indicate orthotics are a viable option to surgery.
Who gets it?
Athletes often experience plantar fasciitis, but they aren’t the only ones. You may also be more prone to plantar fasciitis if you are obese, have a high or low arch in your foot, or begin or increase a physical activity. If you roll your feet inward when in motion, have tight calf muscles, or wear old shoes, you may also be more susceptible.
What are the symptoms?
In addition to heel pain, other symptoms are pain when you begin walking after not moving for awhile (which then subsides or gets worse), or increased pain after you exercise. Going up stairs or prolonged standing can also aggravate it.
How does it help?
Most likely, you’ll be able to resolve plantar fasciitis with orthotics, but you should manage your daily activities, as well. Wearing supportive shoes and orthotics with thick soles and additional cushioning can decrease pain, but be mindful of how you might exacerbate your condition. For instance, try resting, discontinuing activities that could irritate it, icing it, as well as regularly stretching your lower extremities, too. It may take a while to heal. You probably won’t need surgery.
Custom orthotics can also be beneficial. You wear these inserts, typically made of plastic, rubber, or leather, in your shoes. Orthotics correct your foot’s alignment, and are made specifically for you. For most people, orthotics that provide good arch support are the best choice. The most common prescription is for three-quarters to full-length orthotics that are semi-rigid. A study published in Foot & Ankle International reported that close to one-third of patients stated that wearing orthotics was the best treatment for plantar fasciitis.