Plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory condition that’s known to be a common cause of heel pain.
It occurs when a thick tissue on the bottom of your foot that connects your toes to your heel bone gets inflamed.
This thick band of tissue is called plantar fascia and it supports the arch of your foot and helps you walk.
Runners, people who wear shoes with poor arch support, and overweight people are more at risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
One common symptom of this condition is pain and stiffness in the bottom of your heel.
Your plantar fascia undergoes a lot of stress in your daily life. When you exert too much pressure on your heel, you end up damaging or tearing the ligaments.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the symptoms, causes, and treatment of plantar fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis are known to appear after a person makes a change in their routine, such as they’ve started wearing a new pair of shoes, working out on a new surface, or exercising more.
The pain in your heel can feel a lot worse in the morning when you step out of bed or after you’ve been sitting or lying down for quite some time.
Heel stiffness can also make climbing stairs very difficult for you. Some symptoms of plantar fasciitis are described below:
Tenderness In Your Heel
Heel tenderness means you feel pain when you press the bottom of your heel.
Sharp Pain In Your Heel
Sharp pain inside your heel, a little behind the arch of your foot, is another plantar fasciitis symptom.
Pain After Resting For A Long Period Of Time
The pain is especially noticeable when you get out of bed in the morning or get out of a chair after resting for a long amount of time.
It occurs because the plantar fascia is known to shorten when your foot’s at rest.
Standing or walking for some time resting can elongate the plantar fascia and cause the pain in your heel to lessen.
Pain After Engaging In Prolonged Activity
The same way prolonged rest can tighten your fascia, engaging in an activity for a long period of time can also put a strain on the fascia and cause pain.
Pain When You’re Flexing
You may also feel pain when you try and flex your foot and toes upward towards your shin. This symptom can get worsen if you also have a tight Achilles tendon.
A Tingling Or Burning Sensation In Your Foot
People have also reported feeling a tingling or burning sensation in their foot, as though a nerve is being squeezed or irritated.
Putting weight on the affected foot may be painful, so you may start limping while you’re walking.
Causes Of Plantar Fasciitis
Let’s take a look at some causes and risk factors of this inflammatory condition:
- Men and women between the ages of 40 and 70 are more at risk of developing plantar fasciitis. It’s known to be a little more common in women. Pregnant women may also experience bouts of this condition, especially during late pregnancy.
- If you’re overweight or obese, you’re also at a higher risk. This is because there’s an increased amount of stress on your plantar fascia ligaments, particularly if you’ve experienced a sudden weight gain.
- People who are long-distance runners or have an active job that requires them to be on their feet constantly are also more likely to develop this condition.
- Structural foot problems can also cause problems in your plantar fascia. If you have a high arch or flat feet, you may be at risk as well.
- People that have tight Achilles tendons (these tendons attach your calf muscles to your heels) are also likely to experience plantar fascia problems.
- If you often wear shoes that have soft soles and not much arch support, you could increase your chances of developing this inflammatory condition.
- Abnormal way of walking can also strain your plantar fascia ligaments, as the weight isn’t properly distributed on your foot when you’re standing.
- Some types of exercise like aerobic dancing or ballet dancing can also put a lot of stress on your heel and the tissue attached to it.
There’s a variety of treatments you can use to treat plantar fasciitis, such as icing, resting, wearing braces, or taking anti-inflammatory drugs.
It’s advisable to consult with a doctor first before trying any of these treatments at home.
If home treatments don’t help ease your pain, an injection of a corticosteroid into the affected part of the ligament may help.
The doctor may use an ultrasound device to determine the right place for the injection.
They may also apply corticosteroids on the arch of your foot or the skin of your heel, and then introduce a painless electrical current to allow the steroid to pass through the skin into the muscle.
Physical therapy is also an integral part of treatment as it can help stretch your Achilles tendons and plantar fascia.
Ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist who can tell you about exercises that will help strengthen the muscles in your lower leg and stabilize your pattern of walking.
If the pain doesn’t go with any of these treatments, you may consider extracorporeal shock wave therapy.
This therapy involves bombarding your heel with sound waves in order to stimulate healing within your plantar fascia ligaments.
Common side effects of this treatment include:
If neither home treatments nor medical treatments are effective in relieving the pain, you may need to consider surgery to treat plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is a common orthopedic complaint.
Most people don’t need to go through surgery to ease their pain and can treat their condition with home treatments, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
It’s important to note that it can take anywhere from a couple of months to two years for a noticeable improvement in the symptoms.
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