Posted on 19th November 2019 at 14:26
Plantar fasciitis is a very painful and debilitating condition causing pain in the heel. We treat a lot of this at the clinic and it affects a variety of different people.
About Plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot warms up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.
Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners. In addition, people who are overweight, women who are pregnant and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are at risk of plantar fasciitis.
In most cases, the pain associated with plantar fasciitis:
Affects just one foot, although it can occur in both feet at the same time
Is triggered by — and is worst with — the first few steps after waking, although it can also be triggered by long periods of standing or getting up from a seated position
Feels like a stab in the heel of your foot
Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot. If tension on that bowstring becomes too great, it can create small tears in the fascia. Repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed.
It's not always clear why this happens, but there are various risk factors involved.
Factors that may increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis include:
Age/sex: Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60. Women are more likely to devolop it than men.
Certain types of exercise: Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue, such as long-distance running, ballet dancing and dance aerobics, can contribute to an earlier onset of plantar fasciitis. Recently started exercising on a hard surface or exercising with a tight calf or heel.
Faulty foot mechanics: Being flat-footed, having a high arch or even having an abnormal pattern of walking can adversely affect the way weight is distributed when you're standing and put added stress on the plantar fascia.
Being overweight: Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
Occupations that keep you on your feet: Factory workers, teachers and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage their plantar fascia.
Improper shoes: Avoid loose, thin-soled shoes, as well as shoes without enough arch support or flexible padding to absorb shock. If you regularly wear high heels, your Achilles tendon, which is attached to your heel, can contract and shorten, causing strain on the tissue around your heel.
Physiotherapy: to instruct you in a series of exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and the calf muscles and to strengthen lower leg muscles, which stabilize your ankle and heel.
Application of ice: Try rolling your foot over a frozen drinks bottle.
Taping: A Physiotherapist may also teach you to apply tape to support the bottom of your foot.
Night splints: Your physiotherapist or doctor may recommend wearing a splint that stretches your calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep. This holds the plantar fascia and achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight and facilitates stretching.
Acupuncture: Your physiotherapist may recommend trying acupuncture for pain relief.
Orthotics: Your Physiotherapist may prescribe off-the-shelf or custom-fitted arch supports (orthotics) to help distribute pressure to your feet more evenly.
Radial shock wave therapy (RSWT): In this procedure, sound waves are directed at the area of heel pain to stimulate healing. It is usually used for chronic plantar fasciitis that has not responded to more-conservative treatments. We use RSWT a lot at the clinic for plantar fasciitis amongst other conditions too.
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