Plantar fasciitis is known to trigger discomfort in the base of the heel. The plantar fascia is a slender, webbed ligament that links the heel to the anterior part of the foot which is responsible for supporting the foot arch as well as facilitate walking.
It is important to note that plantar fasciitis is a common orthopedic condition. The plantar fascia is subjected to significant wear and tear from daily life. Generally, these ligaments serve as shock absorbers which support the foot arch. Excessive pressure on the feet can impair or slash the ligaments. The plantar fascia becomes swollen and the inflammation triggers heel pain and rigidity.
What are the indications?
The main issue of plantar fasciitis is pain and rigidity in the base of the heel but some also end up with pain at the middle base of the foot region. This usually develops over time and affects one foot but can affect both.
Some describe the pain as dull while others have piercing pain and an aching or burning sensation on the base of the foot that radiates outward from the heel.
The pain is usually worse in the morning upon the initial steps out of the bed or after being seated or lying down for some time. Additionally, climbing stairs can be hard due to the stiffness of the heel.
After an extended activity, the pain might flare-up due to increased inflammation. The pain is not typically felt during the activity but after taking a break.
What are the causes?
An individual is at higher risk for developing plantar fasciitis if overweight or obese. This is due to the increased pressure placed on the plantar fascia ligaments, particularly if an individual had sudden weight gain. Women who are pregnant often suffer from episodes of plantar fasciitis especially during late pregnancy.
Those who engage in long-distance running are prone to develop issues with the plantar fascia. One is also at risk especially those who have active jobs that involves being on the feet often.
For those who have foot issues such as flat feet or high arches, it increases the risk for plantar fasciitis. Having tight Achilles tendons can also lead to plantar fascia pain. Even wearing shoes that have soft soles and meager arch support can also lead to the condition.
The objective of treating plantar fasciitis is to reduce the inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament. Just remember that this will not deal with the underlying damage to the ligament though.
The initial treatment includes avoiding the use of the foot and application of an ice pack for 15-20 minutes at 3-4 times per day to minimize the swelling. You can also reduce or change the workout routine. Arch supports placed in the shoes and engaging in stretching exercises can also alleviate the pain.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can be given to reduce the inflammation of the ligament.
If home remedies are not effective, a corticosteroid injection can be given directly into the damaged area of the ligament. An ultrasound device can be used to determine the suitable spot for the injection.
Physical therapy is also a vital part of the treatment for plantar fasciitis. This involves stretching of the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon.