What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Foot troubles and woes can result from a number of causes – poor-fitting shoes, overpronationwhen running, or simply from health conditions such as diabetes. If you’re currently experiencing heel or arch pain, you most likely are suffering from a condition known asplantar fasciitis.
The Plantar Fasciitis: What it Is, Where It’s Located
Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition where the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. The plantar fascia is a connective tissue on the back of the foot that runs all the way from the heel bone, over the arch, and up to the bottom of the toes. The condition is often caused by overpronation, or rolling the foot inward when jogging or walking. When the foot is overpronated then, more stress is put on the plantar fascia, all which, in time, causes it to become inflamed.
Why Plantar Fasciitis Develops in the First Place
Plantar fasciitis is the most common type of heel pain as well as a regular orthopedic complaint. So, needless to say, a lot of people must roll their feet inward when they’re walking.However, that being said, heel and arch pain can also be induced if you’re obese or are wearing shoes that do not have adequate arch support or cushioning. Long distance runners who run on uneven terrains or pursue downhill courses often suffer from plantar fasciitis as well. An Achilles tendon that is tight or isn’t stretched can cause the condition too.
The Risk of Getting Plantar Fasciitis Increases with Age
While plantar fasciitis prevails in both men and women, it is seems to affect men a little more often, particularly patients who range in age from 40 to 70 years old. Older people have more of a chance of developing plantar fasciitis because the connective tissue becomes less flexible over time. The protective pad of fat over the heel starts to thin as well, thereby heightening the risk.
Heel Spurs: How and Why They Form
While some people mistakenly believe that the condition is the result of a heel spur (a calcium deposit that forms underneath the heel bone), heel spurs do not cause the problem. The conditions are separate.
Heel spurs, themselves, develop over time, and occur, most often, in athletes who are heavily engaged in jumping or running activities. They can also occur as the result of gait problems as well, all which causes injury to the muscles and ligaments in the heel.Heel spurs may also form when people wear ill-fitting shoes or regularly jog on hard surfaces.
Symptoms Associated with Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is typically represented by heel stiffness and pain, with the pain either being sharp or dull. Some patients may complain of burning sensations or aching too. Usually, the pain is the worst in the morning, or right after getting out of bed. It can also be experiencedafter the patient has stood or sat for a while, or climbed a flight of stairs.
Ways of Treating the Condition
Plantar fasciitis is typically treated with such over-the-counter pain medications as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen, or with night splints, which are worn to stretch the muscles and tendons in the foot. Wearing well-fitting footwear with sufficient cushioning and support is also recommended too.
Customized shoe inserts (orthotics) can also assist in reducing the pain and inflammation. When the condition is first diagnosed, patients may be advised to apply ice to the site twice a day for a period of 15 minutes at a time. If the pain still does not abate, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatments (ESWTs) may be recommended.
Treatment Time and Recovery
The treatment time for plantar fasciitis can range from seven months to two years, depending on the individual. On average, most people’s heel and arch pain starts to subside after about nine months.