Plantar Fasciitis: What You Need To Know
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the sheet of fibrous tissue that connects your heel to your toes and provides support to the arch. Wear and tear in the ligaments of this thick band of connective tissue leads to its irritation. As a result, inflammation develops and causes stabbing heel pain and stiffness.
What are the causes of Plantar Fasciitis?
The exact cause of plantar fascia remains unclear. Stress and too much tension lead to repeated small tears fibrous fascia. If these tears are beyond the repair capability of the body, inflammation develops and causes pain and other symptoms. The cause may also be the degeneration of fibrous fascia. Certain factors increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis, such as:
- Old age (between 40 and 70)
- Being female
- flat or high arched feet
- Tight Achilles tendon
- Occupations and activities that put a lot of pressure on the plantar fascia. For example, working in the factory, teaching, running long distances.
What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
If you have plantar fascia, you will feel pain in your heels and at the bottom of your feet. It will have the following characteristics:
- There will be stabbing pain but may also be dull
- Pain is worse in the morning, after rest or sitting for a while
- Usually pain fades away with activity but gets worse after it
- Pain that flares up after prolonged standing due to increased irritation and inflammation
- Normally pain that increases over many months, but it may reduce spontaneously
You may also feel stiffness and swelling at the bottom of your feet.
How to make a diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis?
Your doctor will make a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis based on the following:
- Medical history: It helps to know the risk factors
- Physical examination: He will check for tenderness and movements that cause pain. For example, he may ask you to flex your foot when he pushes the fascia.
- Imaging tests like X-rays and MRIs are not necessary. If performed, they help rule out other conditions such as bone fractures, arthritis.
- Ultrasonography is the best to confirm the diagnosis. There will be thickened plantar fascia.
What is the prognosis of Plantar Fasciitis?
The prognosis of plantar fasciitis is good, with treatment improving the condition within ten months. Non-surgical treatment options often resolve symptoms in more than 95 percent of the people within six months to a year. Sometimes, surgery is performed if other options fail to relieve pain.
What are the treatments of Plantar Fasciitis?
Your doctor will recommend the following:
- Resting and stopping or modifying activities that cause pain
- Alternative ice and heat application to relieve pain
- Night splints to stretch the arch of your foot and calf while you sleep
- Shoes with arch support and slightly raised heel
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like naproxen and ibuprofen
- Physical therapy to stretch the fascia, strengthen leg muscles and loosen the Achilles tendon.
- Steroid injection if other treatment options are not effective
- Platelet rich plasma injection also helps
- Surgery, the last resort, is performed only when the pain is severe; and other options have failed.