What is Plantar Fasciitis

What Is Plantar Fasciitis

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Plantar Fasciitis

Among foot problems, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common.  It is characterized mainly by pain in the heel, specifically in the plantar fascia, which is the tissue linking the heel to the toes.  The condition can occur in a single foot or both.  When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed and swollen, it generates pain when you’re on your feet or on the move. 

Signs and Symptoms

The usual indicators of plantar fasciitis include pain at the heel and sole of the foot when standing and moving especially when going up the stairs.  The pain is also exacerbated when you’re standing still for several minutes and especially for hours at a time.  You might also notice some pain in the morning or when you exercise which could ease up once you’re moving but gets worse later on. 

If ignored and not treated, the pain will get worse and keep you from walking properly.  In some cases, it could eventually hinder exercise and other activities like running.  Older people are also prone to this condition but they often mistake it for arthritis which exhibits some similarities when it comes to symptoms. 

Possible Causes

The specific cause of plantar fasciitis is not clear.  What is known, however, are the activities that trigger pain and contribute to the development of this condition.  Any existing foot conditions can predispose you to plantar fasciitis.  Examples are high arches or a tendency for overpronation, and flat feet or underpronation.   

Also, as you get older, don’t be surprised as well if you develop this kind of pain.  Due to aging and wear and tear, the plantar fascia tissue naturally becomes weaker and deteriorates so that it doesn’t stretch as well as it used to and then it becomes inflamed. 

Some sports like running and activities that continually strain the foot may also lead to this condition.  Even wearing uncomfortable shoes or shoes that are too tight can cause pain, with repeated instances of this likely resulting in plantar fasciitis. 

Treatment Options And Lifestyle

With continuous treatment, plantar fasciitis can be treated and you can return to your normal lifestyle.  Pain and inflammation can be reduced and the tears that develop in the tissue can still heal.  If you have foot conditions like high arches, treatment and education will also ensure that you know how to cope with these conditions and avoid a relapse of plantar fasciitis.

Avoid activities that trigger pain like running or brisk walking and make sure you keep resting your feet until they heal.  When you do need to be on the move, wear comfortable shoes with ample support and cushioning.  To ease existing pain, you can also take pain relievers like Ibuprofen.  If you wish to as much as possible avoid medication, place a cold compress on your heel instead.  Simple and gentle exercises to increase your foot’s flexibility will also help.

If these initial treatment options don’t help, physical therapy will be recommended.  You can get specially made shoes which will support your feet well when you’re walking.  You may also be required to use a splint for your foot at night while you’re sleeping.  Once you’ve exhausted all options and the pain still continues, your doctor might recommend surgery. 

Related article: Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

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