Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition causing pain and other discomforts in the arch and heel of the foot. Plantar fasciitis results from the pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia. The Plantar fascia is a thick band of tissues running along the foot bottom. This thick band of tissues help connect the heel bone to the toe and supports the foot arch. As well as this, plantar fascia acts as a shock absorber during walking or running.
However, when subjected to repetitive actions or trauma and excessive stress, the plantar fascia becomes inflamed or irritated, resulting in plantar fasciitis. There are different factors contributing to the development of plantar fasciitis. The common symptoms may include pain and inflammation. However, people may also face other symptoms, depending upon the severity of the injury.
Plantar fasciitis, fortunately, is a treatable condition and there are a number of treatments or measures used to provide relief and promote healing. In this article, we are going to discuss in detail the common causes and symptoms of plantar fasciitis. We will also discuss the techniques for diagnosing and treating plantar fasciitis. However, we will complete our discussion with the 07 effective ways to prevent plantar fasciitis. So, let’s begin our discussion here;
Common causes of plantar fasciitis
A combination of factors can cause plantar fasciitis, and understanding these causes is essential to diagnose and manage plantar fasciitis. Here we have discussed the most common causes of plantar fasciitis:
- Repetitive stress on foot: Activities requiring repetitive actions or movements of the foot, including long-distance running, jumping, landing, dancing, and others can strain the plantar fascia. This repetitive stress causes inflammation of the plantar fascia, leading to plantar fasciitis.
- Improper footwear: Wearing footwear having insufficient cushioning and poor foot arch may contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.
- Obesity and weight distribution: Excess body weight may put extra stress or additional strain on the plantar fascia, increasing the risk of the plantar fascia being inflamed. This strain along with other factors may contribute to plantar fasciitis.
- Tight Achilles tendons: Tightness in the Achilles tendons may limit ankle flexibility, leading to stress or strain on the plantar fascia. This happens during certain movements, such as walking or running. Thus, it makes plantar fascia more susceptible to inflamed, leading to plantar fasciitis.
- Foot abnormalities: Certain abnormal conditions of the foot, including flat feet or high arches, may alter the foot biomechanics, increasing stress on the plantar fascia. These foot abnormalities may also lead to tension or excessive stretch on the plantar fascia, causing them to become painful and inflamed.
What does plantar fasciitis feel like?
Pain is the basic symptom of plantar fasciitis. However, based on the intensity of the injury, you may also feel some other discomforts. Below given are other common symptoms resulting from plantar fasciitis:
- Heel pain: Pain in the heel is the hallmark symptom resulting from plantar fasciitis. the pain is usually described as a stabbing or sharp sensation. The sensation is typically felt on the back or the underside of the heel.
- Arch pain: Along with heel pain, people who suffer from plantar fasciitis may also experience arch pain. This pain may extend alongside the length of the plantar fascia.
- Pain that is aggravated by activity: Pain resulting from plantar fasciitis may worsen with physical activities, especially involving prolonged standing, walking, running, or jumping.
- Stiffness: People suffering from plantar fasciitis may also experience stiffness and other discomforts in the injured foot. The stiffness is usually felt after a long period of rest or inactivity. It may make it difficult for you to move your foot comfortably.
- Swelling and tenderness: Plantar fasciitis may result in mild swelling. The swelling is not as visible as you may experience in other foot conditions. As well as this, the affected area of the arch or heel may also be tender to touch.
How to diagnose plantar fasciitis?
Healthcare professionals follow different techniques to diagnose plantar fasciitis. Below are the common techniques used to diagnose plantar fasciitis:
- Medical history: Your healthcare professionals or GP will start diagnosing the injury with medical history. They may ask about the painful area, nature of pain, and duration of pain in the affected areas. They may also ask about the factors that worsen the pain. Asking about lifestyle, occupation, and physical activities may also help identify the possible risk factors contributing to the development of plantar fasciitis.
- Physical check-up: Healthcare professionals may perform a physical check-up to identify the intensity of pain and other discomforts.
- Diagnostic tests: They may also perform several diagnostic tests to identify the nature of the injury more precisely. Usually, ultrasounds, and MRIs are performed to get a more accurate picture of the injury.
Possible treatment plans for plantar fasciitis
The following are the commonly followed treatment plans for plantar fasciitis:
- Rest: Take proper rest and restrict your physical activity. This will help reduce pain and other discomfort and speed up recovery.
- Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises help improve the flexibility of the muscles, helping improve the range of motion.
- Ice therapy: Applying ice to the affected areas helps reduce pain and inflammation.
- Footwear modification: Wear supportive shoes providing your feet with proper cushioning and arch support.
- Medication: Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs helps reduce pain, swelling, and other discomforts.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy helps relax muscles, reducing pain and other discomforts. This is also helpful to improve the range of motion.
- Foot support braces: Wearing ankle or foot support braces helps immobilise the injured area, helping avoid further damage. As well as this, they provide enough compression and support, helping promote healing following plantar fasciitis.
- Surgery: More severe conditions that do not recover through above discussed treatments may require surgery. Surgical treatment may take longer to heal.
07 effective ways to prevent plantar fasciitis
Check out the most effective ways to prevent the chances of plantar fasciitis:
1. Wear appropriate footwear
Wearing proper footwear helps avoid putting extra stress on the foot arch or heel. Thus, it helps avoid the chances of plantar fasciitis. They also provide proper cushioning and support, helping you perform well.
2. The use of orthopaedic inserts
The use of orthopaedic inserts provides additional arch support and cushioning. Thus, they help reduce stress on the plantar fascia.
Ensure that your body is fully warmed up before engaging in any physical activity or sports. A proper warm-up will help you avoid the chances of overuse injuries.
4. Increase your activity gradually
Always listen to your body and increase your activity gradually. Remember that overusing your ankles or foot may put extra stress on the plantar fascia, leading to plantar fasciitis.
5. Maintain healthy body weight
Being overweight may put excessive stress or pressure on the feet or your feet may have to bear the load beyond their limits. So, try to maintain a healthy body weight to prevent the chances of plantar fasciitis.
6. Wear foot support braces
Wearing foot support braces provides your feet with proper cushioning, support, and compression. Thus, they help improve circulation in the feet, avoiding the chances of plantar fasciitis and other overuse injuries.
7. Avoid prolonged standing or walking
Prolonged standing or walking may put excessive pressure on the plantar fascia, causing plantar fasciitis. Healthcare professionals advise avoiding prolonged standing or walking to keep your feet healthy.