Plantar fasciitis is one of the most notorious conditions affecting feet and an estimated 10% of the American population. The condition accounts for 15% of the foot-related pain visits to the doctor. 11% of all the running injuries are from Plantar fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs due to the inflammation of the tissue, which connects the heel bone to the toes (plantar fascia). The plantar fascia is a tissue that supports the feet during walking, standing or running. The Plantar fascia may become swollen due to problems arising from other body parts including the lower back, the knee, hip, and ankles, as well as too much pressure on the plantar fascia tissue. The inability of the plantar fascia tissues to stretch makes them susceptible to injury both from the foot itself and from other body parts.
Plantar fasciitis occurs due to increased pressure on the ligaments of the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis occurs mainly in late pregnancy, people with high arches and flat feet, people who work a lot on their feet and people who suddenly gain weight.
Symptoms of Plantar fasciitis
The most common symptoms of Plantar fasciitis is a pain at the heel, arch or entire sole of your foot. The area around your heel may also feel tender when touched.
How to prevent plantar fasciitis
The lifestyle choices you make on a daily basis affect the health of your feet. Since plantar fasciitis is one of the most painful condition with a possibility of causing disability, it is best to prevent its occurrence.
Preventive steps to take:
- Wear comfortable and supportive footwear. Wear shoes that support your arch especially if you have flat feet or high arches.
- Get an examination from a physical therapist if you intend to engage in exerting activities such as a marathon.
- Keep the muscles of your feet strong and flexible to reduce the chances of injury
- Manage your weight as being overweight puts a lot of stress on your feet.
However, despite all the preventive measures you may take, you may find yourself with plantar fasciitis.
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
- Have an examination from a physical therapist to pinpoint the root cause of your condition. Detecting the source of the problem contributes to successful healing.
- Reduce activities such as walking, running, and hiking which put pressure on your plantar fascia. Alternatively, you can practice a low-impact sport such as bicycling.
- Wear supportive footwear. The best footwear is that which comes with an arch support. It is also important to regularly replace your running shoes once the arch support wears off.
- Use a night splint to stretch the tissue throughout the night.
- Stretch your arches, calf, and heel daily
- Use ice on the affected region
Physical therapy is effective in the management and healing of plantar fasciitis. The sooner you get treatment after noticing any symptoms the better the outcome. Plantar fasciitis, when unmanaged, can lead to other complications such as leg, knee, hip and back injury. Minor changes like wearing the right shoes, can make a difference in your life.