Your Guide to Understanding Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common orthopedic conditions that cause severe pain in the bottom of the heel. This condition involves inflammation and pain of a thick band of tissue, known as the plantar fascia. Plantar fascia connects front of your foot with your heel, help you to walk and support the arch in your feet.
When too much pressure is exerted on feet, it can cause damage to planter fascia. This results in stiffness and heel pain because of the inflammation of the planter fascia. This condition is most common in runners as well as people who are obese and those who wear shoes that lacks adequate support.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
There are several factors that can together or solely contribute to plantar fasciitis. This condition is more common in men as compared to women. The risk of this condition increases as you age. Here is a list of some other causes that can result in planter fasciitis.
- You are on your feet for many hours each day.
- You are suffering from medical conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid
- If you are overweight or obese
- Having flat feet
- Having heel cords, or tight achilles
- You have suddenly increases your exercise intensity or recently taken up a new form of exercise.
- Having feet of unusually high arch
- You have legs having uneven length
- You used to wear shoes with high heels, but now switched to flat shoes all of a sudden
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The main two symptoms of plantar fasciitis include the following:
- Feeling pain at the center or front of the heel bone.
- Feeling pain that gets worse when first you rise in the morning. This type of pain also known as first-step pain. This may occur when you first stand up after resting or sitting for a long period of time.
Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis
One of the most significant approaches for treating Planter Fasciitis is to reduce inflammation in the plantar fascia ligament.
Home Remedies to Treat Planter Fasciitis
Some of the initial home remedies for treating PF include the following.
- Apply ice for 4 to 5 times a day for about 20 to 25 minutes. This will help to reduce swelling.
- You can get relieved from pain by doing stretching exercises
- You can reduce inflammation by altering your exercise activities.
- Use arch supports in your shoes
- The swelling in the ligament can also be reduced with the use of NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), for example, naproxen and ibuprofen
You should opt for medical treatments and consult a doctor if home treatments and over-the-counter medicines for inflammation are not helpful in easing pain.
You will be given an injection of a corticosteroid into the damaged area of the ligament by your doctor. First of all, ultrasound device is used for determining the appropriate place for the injection. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that are administered directly on the skin of your arch of the foot or on your heels. After this, a painless electrical current is applied that will help the drug to pass into the muscle through your skin.
Another form of treatment that can be used for planter fasciitis is physical therapy. Physical therapy helps in stretching your Achilles tendons and plantar fascia. Physical therapists can also demonstrate some useful exercises for strengthening your lower leg muscles. This will help in stabilizing your walk and to lessen your plantar fascia work load.
If physical therapies, and anti-inflammatory drugs are not working for you and you are feeling severe pain then you may be recommended extra corporeal shock wave therapy by your doctor. In this type of therapy, the heeling is stimulated within the ligament with the bombardment of sound waves against your heel. This type of treatment may result in numbness, swelling, pain and bruises, and not very effective in minimizing the symptoms of PF.
Surgery is the most dramatic therapy, which is only considered if the pain is very severe and not possible for the patient to bear it. In the surgery, the plantar fascia is detached partially from the heel bone; however this may weaken the arch of your foot. Another type of surgery is known as gastrocnemius recession, which involves lengthening the calf muscle.
Support and Braces
There are several other treatments that can help you to get rid of planter Fasciitis. For example, night splints can be used in stretching arch of your foot and your calf. Night splint is actually a type of brace which is used for holding your foot in a flexed position and helps in lengthening the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia overnight. With the use of night splint, you can prevent morning stiffness and pain.
You can also prevent further damage to the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia with the use of arch supports special orthotics for your shoes. This may help in alleviating some of the pain by balancing pressure on your heels. Moreover, a boot cast can be used for immobilizing your foot and reducing strain as the plantar fascia heals. You can easily remove boot cast for bathing.
Diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis
- A physical exam may be performed by your doctor for checking the exact location of pain and tenderness in your foot. This examination is done to ensure that your foot is the result of damage in planter fascia and not caused by any other foot problem.
- Your physician may ask you to flex your foot and he/she will push on the plantar fascia to check whether the pain gets worse or not. Swelling and mild redness will also be considered by the doctor.
- Your doctor will further check your physical balance, your coordination, sense of sight and touch and your reflexes for evaluating the health of your nerves and strength of your muscles.
Potential Risks of Plantar Fasciitis
If you keep on ignoring this condition, this may develop chronic heel pain and will change the way you used to walk, causing injury to back, hips, knees and your legs.