Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fascia is the thick strip of tissue at the bottom of your foot. This tissue runs from the bottom of the foot, and connects the heel of the foot with the toes. In simpler terms, plantar fascia is like an archer’s bow, with the heel at one end of the bow, and toes at the other. This tissue holds the arch of your foot in place.
Plantar fasciitis is a fairly common condition. In fact, perhaps the only people who don’t experience it are the barefoot populations. Other than that, anyone who stands for long periods of time at their job, work, or other places can experience plantar fasciiitis.
Also, people who stress their feet running, jogging, and hiking are at risk for plantar fasciitis at some point in their lives. The pain of plantar fasciitis starts as a stabbing sensation in the heel or the arch of the foot, and with time, the frequency and intensity increase. Morning foot pain is a typical symptom of plantar fasciitis.
In the beginning, people experience morning pain in their heels, which often decreases as the day passes and after taking a good number of steps. However, the pain may return after standing for a long period or getting up from sitting.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
For most people, plantar fasciitis is curable with a little rest, artificial arch support, and stretching exercises. However, this isn’t the case with everyone because plantar fasciitis is also notorious for being stubborn in going away. This is why people with severe cases of plantar fasciitis find themselves dealing with a condition that hampers their quality of life and undermines fitness and health.
Plantar fasciitis is treated with a holistic approach, which involves reducing the pain and inflammation, stretching the scarred tissue, and strengthening the foot muscles to prevent the condition from worsening. Many doctors will prescribe pain medications along with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Reducing Pain with Topical Medications
Pain reliever medicines such as ibuprofen and naproxen are good for reducing pain and inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis. While oral medications may be used to relieve pain, topical agents may be more helpful, simply because these medicines provide instant pain relief.
Compared to this, oral alternatives take time as the medicine needs time to get absorbed in the bloodstream and finally act on the painful site. Topical agents come in many forms including gels, lotions, creams, or sprays. Rubbing an analgesic cream, ointment, or lotion helps in reducing inflammation and pain, while an anesthetic may be used to achieve instant pain relief as they numb the painful site, causing the pain sensations to subdue.
These two types of medications can be compounded into one agent, which can be retained with a doctor’s prescription. Topical medications are good for long-term use because they have few side-effects. This is because they do not pass through the GI tract, and are directly applied to the site, so they cause no harm to the stomach.
Some topical medications cause repeated hot and cold sensations, and this makes the nerves send signals for this sensation instead. When the hot and cold sensation is dominant, the mind is distracted from the pain.
Topical pain medications are easily available as over-the-counter drugs, or you can get a compounded formula with a doctor’s prescription. Regular use of topical medication will enable you to reduce pain sufficiently to start stretching and strengthening exercises for your foot. A combined approach will help you heal your plantar fasciitis quickly.
Topical agents are ideal for managing plantar fasciitis. Quick pain relief and fewer side effects ensure hassle-free results, and lessened pain enables a patient to embark on therapy exercises.
Scher, D.L., Belmont, P.J., Bear, R. et al. (2009). The incidence of plantar fasciitis in the United States military. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 91(12), 2867 – 2872. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19952249.