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					Many people wake up with a cramp in the heel area. The pain in the foot, heel and
arch area typically eases after the first several steps. This type of pain in the foot is
typically called plantar fasciitis and can be very debilitating. Plantar fasciitis is caused
by an inflammation of the arch cord that supports the foot called the plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia stretches from the heel through the sole up to the five toes. There
are many causes of plantar fasciitis, such as weight gain, change in shoe gear, a tight
Achilles tendon, walking on uneven surfaces and even trauma. This type of foot pain
can be extremely painful and can stop people from walking due to the severity at
times. This pain is usually the worst in the morning and eases as the day goes on,
however, it can start to ache at the end of the day or be irritated by exercise.
  Often times runners will suffer from plantar fasciitis. When you run your foot will
hit the ground more than 1.000 times during each mile that is run. The plantar fascia
suffers from the amount of force put on it during the run. Improper running shoes
often do not give support to this tissue, often times the cause of plantar fasciitis.
  Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common ailments a podiatrist will see in their
office. 10% of Americans will suffer from this condition during their lifetime. There
are many treatment options for plantar fasciitis. Stretching exercises and custom made
orthotics are 2 of the most common ways of treating Plantar Fasciitis. Orthotics are
shoe inserts that are custom casted to a patients feet. Other treatment methods include
a heel cup to cradle the foot and heel area, icing regiments, night splints, and
sometimes a cortisone shot. Prescription anti-inflammatory medication is another
viable option for people with this type of foot pain.
  For runners who have plantar fasciitis, the most important treatment is to rest the feet.
Stretching the plantar fascia and the Achillis tendon will help to decrease the pain.
Once the pain starts to go away you can start running on soft surfaces, but make sure
that your mileage isn't increased more than 10% per week. It's very important not to
push yourself or you can revert right back to where you started. Proper running shoes
are also very important in your recovery. Running stores or a foot doctor can
recommend a running shoe that will support your feet correctly during a run.
  Physical therapy is another great way to treat plantar fasciitis. Many times a physical
therapist will stretch the tissue called the plantar fasci along with relaxation of the
arch tissue via ultrasound therapy. The physical therapist will teach you exercises to
help stretch the tissue and relieve the pain that you are feeling.
  It is not normal for your heel and arch area to hurt. If you have pain in your heel and
arch area you probably have some from of plantar fasciitis and you should seek the
advice of a foot specialist. Often times there is an easy fix to this problem so don't
wait for it to get worse!
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posted:2/9/2011
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