What Are The First Signs Of Plantar Fasciitis And Heel Spurs?
When I first felt the twangs and pains in my feet, I had no idea what the problem was or that I was seeing the first signs of plantar fasciitis. At first, I thought I had just managed to strain my foot somehow because I was wearing an old pair of shoes that were quite loose (with age) and not very supportive. However, after the pain did not ease I realised that there was something wrong and had to seek treatment.
However, had I known that I had this injury, I might have been able to get treatment sooner, rest more, ice and elevate and be on the road to recovery much sooner than I was.
That’s why I wanted to share with you a list of signs that you might have or are showing signs of getting Plantar Fasciitis. This list is by no way exhaustive, but these are some key signs or pointers that you need to seek some proper medical advice.
1. Painful Heels In The Morning.
I think this has to be the one that people need to recognise as one of the key signs of having Plantar Fasciitis. If you are finding it hard to walk when you first get out of bed, because your feet and especially your heels are very sore and tender then you already have PF, or are showing signs of getting it.
The reason for this pain is that during the night, the fascia ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot, stretching from the heel to the ball of your foot, becomes less tense and starts to contract.
If you have damaged your fascia, the moment you step out of bed again and it starts to stretch and flex, the tears in the ligament will be very painful and it will feel like you are walking on broken glass. I used to have this and found it very difficult to walk to the bathroom, sometimes finding it easiest to walk on tip-toe.
As I have said, if you have this pain in the mornings, then it is most likely that you already have Plantar Fasciitis and therefore you will need to seek help from a professional (podiatrist/doctor).
There are some quite good treatments you can use at home, such as wearing a night splint, but getting the proper treatment is paramount here. If you have issues with your gait, balance or your shoes, these will need to be sorted as well – so you will need to look at the problem holistically.
2. Tight Calf Muscles.
Everything in your body is, in some way, connected to every other part and the same goes for the legs and feet. The Plantar Fascia also connects from the heel up the back of the calf and therefore any stress or strain in that area can put pressure on the foot too.
It is now confirmed by doctors that having tight calf muscles can cause Plantar Fasciitis and that working with patients to stretch these muscles is a very effective way to treat the problem.
A common factor is tight calf muscles which lead to a prolonged or high velocity pronation or rolling in of the foot. This in turn produces repetitive over-stretching of the plantar fascia leading to possible inflammation and thickening of the tendon. As the fascia thickens it looses flexibility and strength. Source.
This was never a symptom that I experienced, although even after years of treatment and wearing orthotic insoles in my shoes for a long time now, my calves do feel tighter than they possibly should. However, I do still run over 4k 3 times a week, so this might also have something to do with it.
3. Pain In Your Feet Or Heels After Walking.
I guess that this might be a sign of any sort of foot unjust or problem, or the fact that you should not have worn those high heels to go hiking in! However, if you are experiencing any pain in your feet after walking, this needs to be checked out.
However, Plantar Fasciitis pain hits people after they stop walking, not during the actual activity. Walking or running stretches the ligament but soon after you stop, the pain starts as the fascia will have been torn or injured.
People who suffer from Plantar Fasciitis can also feel pain in the sole of their foot when walking or around the heel area. This is due to the Fascia ligament stretching when you walk, which, if it is injured, will cause you pain in that area.
If you specifically feel pain in your heel when walking or after an activity, then this could also be related to other problems such as heel spurs, where a small amount of bone has grown, causing pain when you walk. Heel Spurs can be quite painful and hard to treat, so if you suspect you have this problem, it is best to get it seen to as soon as possible.
Shoes or choice of footwear is also a major cause of foot pain when walking. You need to make sure that the type of footwear is appropriate and that it fits properly and supports all of your foot. Wearing high heels is a major cause of PF and foot pain in women and studies have shown that, over time, they cause a heck of a lot of problems. They might look nice, but they are not good for you.
4. Heel Pain When Climbing Stairs.
You might get this symptom if you are starting to see the first signs of Plantar Fasciitis, especially if you are not experiencing any other aches or pains.
When you start to climb stairs and are putting most of the pressure on the balls of your feet and toes, lifting yourself up with the front of your foot, the stress and pressure will be transferred to the calf muscle.
As we have said earlier, the calf, being connected to the Plantar Fascia will put extra stress on it when it is used. If you are feeling pain in the heel area when you climb stairs or walk up a hill, it is probable that you might be developing PF or a similar problem.
I guess that the problem that allowed my Plantar Fasciitis to get worse and take over my life for quite some time, was that I was ignoring the symptoms. This might just be a “male thing” but it does point out that when you start to have problems with your feet, they need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, unless you are a prince, you will not get to rest your feet and even if you do, there will be times when you have to walk, so total rest to allow recuperation is not really possible.
If you start to feel any pain in your feet, take note of the following:
- Where the pain is located.
- When it occurs – in the morning, during or after walking.
- What helps it get better?
- Are your shoes actually practical and a good choice for activities you do?
This will help you identify what the problem might be, but also help you communicate with your podiatrist or doctor much more effectively. There is nothing worse for a medical professional than someone turning up without much information to go on apart from “my feet hurt…”.
Plantar Fasciitis is a curable condition.
However, the cure can take time and is definitely not an immediate fix. You may have to alter your lifestyle a little and also take serious note of what your doctors or foot specialists tell you to do. Catching the symptoms early and seeking proper medical advice is the best course of action and these 4 main symptoms we have listed above are definitely triggers for you to seek more help.
- Pain in your feet or heels when getting out of bed in the morning.
- Having tight calf muscles all the time.
- Having pain in your feet or heels after walking or sitting for a period of time.
- Painful heels when climbing stairs or walking uphill.
Over to you…
Are you already suffering from Plantar Fasciitis or are you starting to think you might be developing this condition?
Leave a comment below and share your story so that other sufferers can hear your story and see that they are not alone.