I don’t remember ever having issues with pain in my feet growing up as a kid or as an adult. Then I woke up one morning, swung my feet out of bed before trying to stand up — and the sudden surprise of immediate and unbearable pain shooting up from my feet and immediately I would sit back down on the bed. But because I knew I had a busy day planned, I decided to take some painkillers and try to power through, which definitely wasn’t my smartest decision ever.
My pain came back later that day, and again the next morning. I kept ignoring it, numbing it with pills, and it just kept coming back and consistently getting worse. The pain seemed to start out concentrated on my soles, before switching to a sharp and shooting pain that traveled through the tops of my feet and up my leg. Eventually, I did what many people do these days when they’re sick, and began to research my symptoms online before trying many people’s home remedies.
The first treatment method I found was cold compression therapy, which only really helped with the pain while I was doing it. The next idea was to take time to rest my feet, so I spent a weekend watching Netflix in bed with my feet up, which was a waste of time. I bought some of those cheap insoles from a pharmacy for arch support and did notice some improvement but they didn’t seem to fit right. Nothing was helping me with my almost constant pain, in fact, it seemed to be getting worse, so I finally decided to talk to a professional.
I made an appointment with a local podiatrist who eventually diagnosed me with a scary sounding condition called plantar fasciitis. It affects the thick ligament tissue with long fibers that starts from your heel bone and fans out under the surface of your feet towards your toes called the plantar fascia. Because your toes carry the body’s weight every time your heel rises while walking, this ligament provides your toes with crucial support.
Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick tissue between your toes and your heel bone, causing it to tighten while you sleep at night. This is what was causing the excruciating levels of pain first thing in the morning when I was trying to stand up and walk before the tissue loosened with use during the day. Plantar Fasciitis develops in most people without any specific cause or reason. That being said, some factors can increase your chance of having the condition, such as obesity, high arches, or tight calves, as well as any new or increased amounts of repetitive impact activities.
While some people with Plantar Fasciitis may need to have surgery or intense physical therapy, most will only need fairly basic treatment methods like massage therapy or anti-inflammatory medication. Within a week of starting my treatment, which was using custom prescription orthotic inserts inside my shoes, the vast majority of my pain had gone away. For the next 12 months, I never went anywhere without my prescription inserts. I simply slipped them into every pair of shoes I wore, and eventually, all the pain in my feet disappeared completely.
My podiatrist also suggested getting extra exercise in order to help stretch and loosen my foot muscles, so I started going to weekly physical therapy for people living with chronic pain. I’ve also found that if I go to bed without quickly stretching my calf muscles, there’s a higher chance of tightness which can cause a little pain.
Living life to my fullest
These days, I’m living my life with almost zero pain at all. I can walk, run, hike, swim, exercise, and do any other normal activities without doing anything extra, outside of always wearing my inserts and doing a little stretching beforehand. But even though I hardly ever feel pain in my feet anymore, I still do everything I can every day to ensure that the pain never does come back.
Foot pain can apparently be caused by anything from plantar fasciitis or just incorrectly fitted shoes, whereas it can also be an indication of other medical conditions like arthritis or diabetes.
So if you ever start experiencing aches, pain, or swelling in your feet, don’t wait around for the pain to become unbearable. Talk to a professional podiatrist or doctor about it as soon as possible, so you can find out the problem and start treatment. And remember, as long as you take care of your feet, you can be sure that they’ll take care of you.