Home General Medicine What is Plantar Fasciitis? What are its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment?

What is Plantar Fasciitis? What are its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment?

Heel pain is a common issue found in young adults, middle age, and older people. While the reasons can be numerous, the most prominent cause is Plantar Fasciitis. It is a disease that causes inflammation of a thick band of tissues placed at the base of the foot that creates a connection between the heel bone and the toes. It causes acute pain in the ankles, which usually begins when you get up to start walking. The pain is alleviated with continuous movement, but it can re-occur due to standing for a long time or standing up after sitting for some time.

Plantar Fasciitis is commonly found in athletes, specifically runners. It can happen if you are overweight or wear uncomfortable shoes with inadequate support, leading to pain in the bottom of your foot.

What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

The Plantar Fasciitis creates a stabbing pain in the base of the foot close to the heels. This pain is high when you take the first steps in the morning. Standing for a long duration and getting up after sitting may cause a stabbing pain in the foot’s heel. If you exercise, you might not feel any issue during the workout. But post-workout, you may experience excruciating pain in the bottom part of the foot.

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a medical health expert immediately.

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What are the causes of Plantar Fasciitis?

Continuous stressing and stretching of the heel causes irritation and leads to inflammation in the fascia. There is a possibility of other unknown causes as well for the causation of Plantar Fasciitis.

What are the risk factors related to Plantar Fasciitis?

There are multiple reasons for having Plantar Fasciitis, but some known factors can increase the risk of causing this disease. The factors include:

● Age: The disease Plantar Fasciitis is commonly found in people with an age range of 40 to 60.

● Exercise: Numerous activities in our daily lives place immense stress on the heel of your foot and the attached tissues. Some of these activities are running for long distances, ballet dancing, aerobic, etc.

● Foot mechanics: People have various kinds of foot structures that directly impact the way the weight of the body is distributed by the feet. Foot shapes like flat feet, a high arch, or any abnormal walking pattern can produce stress on the plantar fascia and cause intense pain.

● Obesity: If your weight is above the BMI for your height and weight, you are considered obese. The body’s excessive weight puts a high amount of pressure on the foot, leading to this condition.

● Occupations: People who are into professions that require long-standing hours or extensive walking on hard surfaces are at high risk of developing this condition. The most common occupations are teaching, athletes, factory workers, etc.

Can any complications arise due to Plantar Fasciitis?

It is very dangerous to ignore the chronic pain caused by Plantar Fasciitis as it can lead to hampering of performance in daily activities. Sometimes people resort to changing the walking pattern to get relief from Plantar Fasciitis, but it can further accelerate the pain and create issues in the foot, knee, hip, and backbone.

How is Plantar Fasciitis diagnosed?

If you feel intense pain in the heel of your foot for a long time, then there are chances you have Plantar Fasciitis. The diagnosis depends on the patient’s medical history and the physical examination of the area under pain. The doctor examines the foot where you are feeling tenderness, as the location of the pain assists in determining the causes of the suffering.

Imaging Tests

Generally, there is no requirement of a test for determining the disease, but the doctor may advise an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging. It is vital for clearing doubts of any other cause of the pain like a stress fracture.

The X-ray test may sometimes display a protruding piece of bone that was previously blamed for the pain in the heel. However, that may not be a causal factor for all.

What is the treatment for Plantar Fasciitis?

The people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis recover quickly within a few months by using conservative treatment, therapy, and other remedies. The treatment methods are given below:

Medication

Numerous medicines can be used to alleviate the pain of suffering people. Some commonly available drugs are ibuprofen and naproxen sodium .

Therapy

Given below are the types of treatments for eliminating the pain of Plantar Fasciitis:

1. Physical therapy: The physical therapist will suggest to you exercises for stretching the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. He/she also provides activities for strengthening the lower leg muscles. The application of athletic taping for supporting the base of the foot is also suggested.

2. Night splints: The therapist or the doctor may recommend you to wear a sling, as it provides stretching of the calf and the arch of the foot during your sleep. It keeps the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon stretched overnight.

3. Orthotics: The doctor may recommend using custom-fit arch support called orthotics, for even distribution of pressure on feet.

Surgery and other processes

When conservative methods do not yield results, then the doctor may recommend the following ways:

● Injecting steroid medication in the affected area for temporary pain relief.

● Use of Extracorporeal shock wave therapy, in which sound waves are pointed to the tender area for healing.

● Ultrasonic tissue repair method in which needle-like probing is done on the affected area, through ultrasound imaging

● People with chronic pain opt for surgery. It involves the process of detaching the plantar fascia from the heel bone for pain relief.

The Bottom Line

Plantar Fasciitis is a condition that is fairly easy to detect and has several methods of treatment that can provide relief to the patient. In order to avoid developing this condition, one should keep in mind the causes that can lead to this condition and seek medical help immediately.

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