Generally speaking, plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes the bottom of your heel to be painful. Plantar fascia is, technically speaking, a thin ligament that connects the front part of your foot to your heel. Primarily, it offers support to the arch of your foot and helps you to walk.
For most runners, the plantar fasciitis is among the most common and painful orthopedic complaints. The plantar fascia ligaments usually experience wearing and tearing as you progress with your daily life. Usually, these ligaments serve as shock absorbers and support the arch of your foot. A lot of pressure on the feet can easily lead to the tearing or damaging of the ligaments. Inflammation of the plantar fascia is what causes stiffness and pain in the heel.
Causes of plantar fasciitis
People who are obese or overweight are at a high risk of developing plantar fasciitis. This is simply explained by the fact that such excess body weight usually increases pressure on the plantar fascia ligaments and people who gain weight suddenly are more vulnerable to getting this condition.
In addition, the problem is very common among pregnant women especially during their late pregnancy stages for the obvious reason that added weight of the growing baby exerts more pressure on these ligaments.
Long distance runners also have a high likelihood of developing plantar fasciitis. People who do very active jobs are similarly at high risks as well such as restaurant waiters and factory workers who are required to be on their feet most of the time. Men and women aged between 40 and 70 years who lead very active lives are also highly vulnerable to this condition as well.
People with other foot-related problems like very flat feet or very high arches may also develop plantar fasciitis very easily. Tight Achilles tendons can also cause plantar fascia pain and poor arch support. Furthermore, wearing shoes that have soft soles can lead to this problem or aggravate an existing case of it. Unlike what some people tend to think, this condition doesn?t result from heel spurs.
Symptoms and diagnoses of plantar fasciitis
People with plantar fasciitis will mostly complain of stiffness and a pain in their heel, especially in the bottom portion of it. Over time, the condition develops gradually and even though only one foot is affected in most cases, both feet can also be affected at times. Most people complain of having a dull pain while a sharp pain is experienced by others and others tend to feel an ache or burning in the heel.
Diagnosis is performed through physical examination where foot tenderness is checked and the specific location of pain is confirmed to be sure that it is not another foot problem. X-rays are also very important during the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.
Home treatments for plantar fasciitis
A very important aspect of treating plantar fasciitis is a reduction of inflammation in the plantar fascia ligament. However, this doesn?t offer a solution to underlying ligament damage. Some of the most common initial home treatments comprise of applying ice to the heel in order to reduce swelling and avoiding staying on your feet for too long.
It is also important that you try changing or reducing your exercising activities and engage in those that don?t result in more pressure being applied to your ligaments. The pain can also be relieved by doing some stretching exercises and using shoes with arch supports. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like naproxen and ibuprofen can also help a lot, especially in reducing the inflammation of the ligaments.
In the case that anti-inflammatory drugs sold over the counter and home treatments do not help ease the pain, the doctor can give a corticosteroid injection directly to the damaged ligament section. An ultrasound could also be used by the doctor to assist in determining the most appropriate place of your heel to inject so that the treatment can be more effective in containing the plantar fasciitis.
It is also very important that the patient considers physical therapy as it helps considerably to stretch the Achilles tendons and plantar fascia. In addition, your physical therapist should also show you some exercises that can help in strengthening your lower leg muscles and those that help in stabilizing your work.
This will assist in lessening the workload of your plantar fascia. Another treatment option that is a worthy consideration is the use of braces and supports. In the long run, however, you might consider going for surgery to have the pain relieved completely. Based on the severity of plantar fasciitis, treatment can last for even several months before the symptoms improve.
How can Orthotics help with Plantar Fasciitis?
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