What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a very common foot ailment which affects 3 million people each year. It is the swelling and irritation of the plantar fascia band of tissue that extends from the heel to the toes of the foot. It causes heel and bottom of the foot pain which tends to be more prevalent at bedtime and in the early mornings. The reason this occurs is because the plantar fascia tighten up after long periods of inactivity. Standing on ones feet for long periods can also tend to aggravate this condition. The plantar fasciitis pain is often confused with tarsal tunnel syndrome or heel spurs, which are different conditions entirely. A visit to your podiatrist can help provide a correct diagnosis for any foot pain issues you may be suffering.
It is a common foot health condition that frequently strikes people in their middle ages, but can affect people of all age groups. People with flat feet or high arches tend to be more likely to develop plantar fasciitis. Primary risk factors include:
- Those with tight Achilles tendons
- Those with flat feet or high arches
- Doing a lot of walking barefooted.
- Activities such as running, basketball, tennis, soccer or gymnastics that
- involve repetitive pounding of foot.
- A lack of arch support.
- Standing too long.
- Poor flexibility in the calf muscle.
- Standing for long periods of time.
- Wearing shoes with little or no cushioning.
Those suffering with plantar fasciitis, typically feel pain in the heel or the arch of their feet. Some describe this pain as feeling like an ache or bruise on the foot. This pain tends to gradually diminish once one begins walking around. With continued walking, the pain can return, but usually goes away after a person rests. If a nerve in the foot has been irritated, the swollen plantar fascia pain may radiate into the ankle and shin.
In its early stages, plantar fasciitis pain may go away once weight has been taken off the foot. However, over time, it may take longer and longer for the pain to go away. Without treatment, the plantar fascia will eventually tear partially away from the heel. The human body then fills the torn, damaged area with calcium deposits. This area will eventually become bone, or a heel spur.
There are many treatments for plantar fasciitis which have proven effective. While treatment often requires an investment of time and patience (sometimes a few months to a year) the end results can restore comfort and mobility to a plantar fasciitis sufferer.
Treatments for plantar fasciitis usually include:
- Custom Orthotics (custom shoe inserts)
- Night splints
- Ice packs
- Ice packs Anti-inflammatory medications (Penetrex)
- Heel stretching exercises
- Rest (avoiding activity)
- Supportive Foot straps
- Avoid walking barefoot
Other treatments can include steroid injections or surgery to release inflamed fascia tendons. Your podiatrist can give you more details about the different treatments for plantar fasciitis and discuss what is best for you. It is important to remember that the underlying root problems or activities that caused plantar fasciitis to appear can cause it to flare up again. Wearing supportive shoes, stretching exercises, controlling weight gain, and wearing custom plantar fasciitis inserts (Corefit Custom Inserts) are all important ways to reduce the likelihood of this condition recurring.