Plantar Fasciitis is all about experiencing pain at the bottom of heels and this is why it is popularly called as Heel Pain. Plantar Fascia is a small ligament connecting your heel to the front of foot and also supports the foot arch and helps you walk.
This is a common orthopedic complaint that occurs when the plantar fascia ligaments receive much wear and tear due to daily life activities. These ligaments typically act as shock absorbers that support the foot arch, and hence too much pressure on feet causing damage to them.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Obesity or overweight is the major cause of Plantar Fasciitis as you are giving more pressure on your plantar fascia ligaments. Pregnant women also experience bouts of plantar fasciitis, especially during late pregnancy. Persons who are very active at job, such as restaurant server or factory worker and at the ages of 40 and 70 are at the highest risk of Plantar Fasciitis. Some foot problems can develop plantar Fasciitis, including;
- High arches
- Very flat feet
- Tight Achilles tendons
- Poor arch support
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Pain and stiffness at the bottom of heels are the major symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
This increases gradually and affects both feet over time. Some persons may feel the pain as dull while others have a severe pain and some experience burning or ache on the bottom of the foot that spreads outward from the heel.
Usually, the pain worse in the morning as people take their first steps out of bed or if they have been lying down or sitting for a while. Heel stiffness may sometimes prevent them from climbing stairs. Extended activities can increase the pain and cause inflammation.
Doctors will do a physical examination to check for tenderness in foot as well as to locate the exact location of pain. This will ensure whether or not the pain is caused by a different foot problem. Doctor may bend patient’s foot and push on the plantar fascia to check if the pain gets worse when you turn.
He will notice moderate redness or swelling, and will measure the strength of muscles as well as health of nerves by checking muscle tone, reflexes and sense of touch and sight, coordination and balance of patient. He may recommend X-ray or MRI scan to check if there is any severe issues, such as bone fracture.
Home Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis
There are some home treatments found better to reduce swelling and pain.
- Apply ice for 15-20 minutes for 3-4 times a day.
- Change and lower down your exercise activities
- Use arch supports in shoes and do stretching exercises to relieve pain
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are proved to be reducing inflammation in the ligament.
- A corticosteroid injection is taken directly on the damaged area of the ligament to reduce the pain.
- Doctors may use ultrasound devices to understand the best area for the injection.
- Physical therapy is recommended to help stretch plantar fascia and Achilles tendons. Therapy includes exercises to strengthen lower leg muscles and stabilize walk and reduce workload on plantar fascia. Information here on webmd reveals the exercises that help.
- Doctor may recommend extracorporeal shock wave therapy wherein sound waves are threw against patient’s heel to stimulate healing inside the ligament.
- Surgery is recommended if pain is very severe due to partially detached plantar fascia from the heel bone. Gastrocnemius recession is a popular surgical method that lengthens the calf muscle.
Braces and Supports
Many doctors do prefer braces and supports for treating Plantar Fasciitis. Night splints are popular braces helping to stretch calf and the arch of foot. These braces hold foot in a bent manner and lengthen the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia nightlong, hence preventing morning pain and stiffness.
You can use special arch supports for your shoes so as to help reduce the pain by spreading pressure as well as preventing further damage to the plantar fascia. Boot cast is also used to freeze your feet and decrease strain.
To conclude, you should not ignore the condition as it may develop severe heel pain and can change the way you walk as well as cause injury to your legs, hips, knees and back.