Plantar fasciitis, also referred to as plantar fasciosis is a common cause of heel pain. It involves pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot connecting the heel bone to the toes.
Plantar fasciitis causes sharp stabbing pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. The pain may turn out to be severe with the first steps of the day or after a period of rest. Also, the individual will experience pain by bending the foot and toes up towards the shin.
Plantar fasciitis is more common in overweight people, runners, and those who wear shoes that lack adequate support. It is more common in middle-aged people but may occur in younger people who stay on their feet for long.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The main cause of plantar fasciitis is repeated small injuries to the fascia. The damage usually occurs near the plantar fascia that attaches to your heel bone.
You are also likely to injure your plantar fascia in certain situations. For instance:
- Ifyoustay on your feetfor a longtimeorifyoudo a lot of running, walking, standingandother similar activities. Also,peoplewho lead a sedentary lifestyle are moreprone to plantar fasciitis.
- Otherpossible causesinclude:
- Ifyouhavestartedexercising on a different
- Ifyou are obeseor overweight, you willputmoreextrastrain on your heel.
- Ifyouwearshoes with poor cushioning orpoorarchsupport.
- If there is sudden stretching of thesoleespeciallyfor
- Occurs to those with tight Achilles tendon (thebigtendonfound at thebottom of your calfmusclesjust above your heel).Thisaffectstheability to flex your ankle.
What are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
The major symptom associated with Plantar fasciitis is pain. The pain can occur anywhere on the underside of your heel. The pain occurs in one spot and may be tender to touch. The pain worsens when you take your first steps on getting up in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest where no weight is placed on your foot. Some activities such as a long walk often make the pain worse. But, you can ease the pain with gentle exercises and resting your foot.
Sudden stretching of the sole of your foot may make the pain worse, for instance walking up the stairs on tiptoes. Some may even have Plantar fasciitis on both feet at the same time.
Diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis can be diagnosed by talking to your doctor followed by an examination on your feet. In rare cases are there tests needed to identify other possible causes of heel pain. However, if tests have to be taken, the most common are X-rays of the heel or an ultrasound scan of the fascia. The scan reveals the thickening and swelling of the fascia.
What are the Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis?
In most cases, the pain will ease with time. However, the following treatment options will help speed up the recovery process:
- Rest your foot: This should be done often. Avoid excess walking or standing, running, or overstretching your sole.
- Arch Supports and Heel pads: You can purchase various pads and shoe inserts for cushioning the heel and support your foot. This helps raise your heel a little bit to make it more comfortable.
- Footwear: Ensure you don’t walk barefoot on hard surfaces. Shop for shoes with cushioned heel and arch support. A laced sports shoe is more preferable than an open shoe.
- Exercises: Regular, gentle stretching of the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon will help ease the symptoms. The main aim of exercises is to loosen the fascia and tendons gently both below and above the heel. A physical therapist is preferred for exercise guidance.
- Pain relief medication: Use of painkillers such as acetaminophen will often ease the pain. Other anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen are also useful. The anti-inflammatory medications help reduce inflammation and may be more effective than other types of painkillers.