Plantar Fasciitis – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Exercises & Prevention
Like most conditions that are barely understood, Plantar Fasciitis also is surrounded by many controversies, myths and theories.
People who suffer from the condition have tried most of the treatments in the market, most of which seldom work. However even for people with the toughest of conditions, there is hope.
What is Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis is defined as an inflammation of plantar fascia and it is the most common cause of heel pain.
Plantar Fascia is tissues band that connect the toes to the bone of heel. It provides support to the arch of your foot.
When strained, it gets irritated and swollen. This irritation then causes foot pain when you stand or attempt to walk.
Although most common for middle aged people, it is also a common issue for younger people who wear the wrong shoes and are often on their feet.
Athletes and soldiers are commonly affected by this problem. One can experience pain on one or both feet.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis
Overweight and obesity
People who are overweight and obese are at a higher risk of getting Plantar Fasciitis.
This is because of the increased amount of pressure on the Plantar Fascia & foot arch.
Problem may not occur if you gain weight gradually but those who gain weigh suddenly will experience the pain intensely because the tissues are not able to support the same amount of weight and have not gain the strength to support the weight over time.
Pregnant women too because of the weight gain experience this pain a lot.
Repetitive Foot Activities
Long distance runners are more likely to develop this condition.
People whose jobs require them to be constantly on the move also experience the pain because of being on their feet frequently.
People between the ages of 40 and 70 are at a higher risk especially if they are constantly on the move because they are aging too.
Repetitive foot activities may also cause inflammation of plantar fascia. This is usually found in the athletes, belle dancer etc.
Bad shoe choices
For the most part people will experience the condition because they choose to wear the wrong type of shoes.
Shoes that are too high or too flat will often strain the heel and cause the muscles around the heel to become inflamed because they are supporting much more weight and are experiencing much more strain.
Choosing shoes with the right arch support is critical to prevent Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain. It causes lot of foot pain and stiffness at the heel.
While most people experience an immense amount of pain at the heel, some people may also have the pain at the mid foot area.
This pain will not come suddenly. It usually develops over a certain period of time. The pain will also vary from person to person.
Some will experience sharp pain while others will describe it as a dull pain. Some may describe it as a burning pain moving outward from the heel.
One thing is common though, most people will feel the most amount of pain in the morning when taking the first steps or after laying down for a while.
Climbing stairs is a nightmare especially because of the stiffness of the heel. Prolonged activity makes the pain worse.
The pain however is not felt while one is busy and engaged in activities. The pain is mostly intense when taking those first steps after resting and after stopping the activities.
The pain of the condition is usually worsened if the individual have been standing, running or walking for a long period of time and they are wearing the wrong shoes.
Sometimes some people may experience bruising and redness at the heel of the foot because of the inflammation or the tissues around that area.
While the condition and its symptoms are not particularly life threatening, they can make the quality of life of an individual very unrewarding.
Plantar fasciitis is a common disease to the adults that affects the heel. A study shows that at least one million patients are affected with this condition annually and seek medical attention from family physicians.
This condition is caused by a prolonged activity such as running or standing. Some of the patients experience pains on the heal during their fast step in the morning as they wake up from bed, and the pain intensifies in the cause of the day if the patient will keep walking or running for longer hours.
Diagnosis is derived from the patient’s history and mostly physical examination.
In such cases you will symptoms like sharp pain along the sole of foot that increases with palpation of the medial plantar calcaneal.
This intensifies with a discomfort in the proximal plantar fascia, that’s when you feel distress on the ankle and first toe.
Taking an x-ray or an ultrasound may be recommend for further investigations that help the physician to rule out other pathology.
Plantar fasciitis treatment
Treatment are divided in two part, first is Non-surgical which includes medications, exercises, rest and physiotherapy. Patient who fails to respond to non-surgical treatment undergoes surgical intervention for pain relief.
When a patient is diagnosed with this condition it is recommended that he/she should avoid standing for longer hours and avoid running to put foot at rest.
If you rest your feet from straining and the regular activities that you use to undertake, body will able to recover fast.
During rest body tries to repairs tears in the plantar fascia & it is believed that over 90 percent of this condition can be healed without any medication.
Exercise and stretches for plantar fasciitis
One of the most beneficial treatments for plantar fasciitis is exercise and stretching.
When you stand arm’s length to a wall place your legs one behind the other and with an instructors guard slowly and gently bend the front leg forward and repeat the same while the legs are reversed.
Another easy way of stretching is keeping your left knee straight and left heel on the ground, hold for a maximum of 30 seconds and repeat at least 3 times.
If you do this regularly the plantar fascia will automatically begin to heal and the pain will surely diminish. For first hand results you can do this stretches with both legs slightly bent.
This kind of stretches will not only help you heal the plantar fasciitis, but also can help you prevent the disease if you do them faithfully and persistently.
It is important to seek assistance from certified physical therapists to treat this condition. But one can also try ice therapy at home.
Heat and cold therapy can be the most easy and affordable form of treatment for plantar fasciitis, reaching out on an ice pad and apply to the painful heel helps to numb the area therefore releasing the pain.
The only thing that you need to know is that you should never apply heat to a joint that is red, irritating or hot already, since this will only intensify the pain.
Take a frozen water bottle, keep it on floor and slowly roll your affected foot over the bottle. Repeat this for 5 times a day and you will feel better.
Having the use of pain relievers such as ibuprofen may help ease the pain.
Other forms include injectable medication which often reliefs pain temporary. This is not commonly recommended because excessive dosage can weaken the area and course resistance to treatment.
Using light shoes and shoes in-soles
During the process of medication and healing period it is necessary to observe the kind of shoes that you put on.
Using the light shoes helps in reducing the amount of weight your feet are required to carry during movement and therefore making it easy for the healing process to take place and use the shortest time possible.
With the best in-soles they will bring about comfort in your legs and thus make your heel to relax, which triggers your mind to release the feeling of comfort which is a very important tool during the healing process.
Plantar fascia release
This is a surgical procedure that releases or removes the affected portion of the tissue that is responsible for the pain.
It is mainly applied to patients that have fail in other form of treatment.
Some of the reasons that may cause a physician to opt for this option are if the patient has persistent pain that seems resistant to medication, exercise, change of shoes and any other non-surgical treatment that the physician may have recommended prior to the surgical option.
The procedure may be performed in two different ways but both of them arrive at the same point of result, this are incision or with a needle. They both relieve the tension on the painful or damaged portion of the tissue.
How to avoid plantar fasciitis
Put on right shoes
When shopping for the kind of shoes you want for yourself it is important to note that high heeled shoes may cause your ankle to sprint ant therefore irritate tension that may bring about plantar fasciitis.
If you indulge into the act of exercise you will in one way or another help your legs muscles to develop and become firm enough, during this process of exercise you will also have the ability to cut down excessive fats in the body.
If you eat a healthy and balanced diet you will avoid being obese which is another basic component for this condition. With this, few measures it is easy to live a plantar fasciitis free life.