main causes of plantar fasciitis + best solutions for plantar fasciitis
plantar fasciitis causes
- Age. Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
- Certain types of exercise. Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue — such as long-distance running, ballet dancing and dance aerobics — can contribute to an earlier onset of plantar fasciitis.
- Faulty foot mechanics. Being flat-footed, having a high arch or even having an abnormal pattern of walking can adversely affect the way weight is distributed when you're standing and put added stress on the plantar fascia.
- Obesity. Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
- Occupations that keep you on your feet. Factory workers, teachers and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage their plantar fascia.
· Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot. If tension on that bowstring becomes too great, it can create small tears in the fascia. Repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Pain in the bottom of your foot, especially at the front or centre of the heel bone
- Pain that is worse when first rising in the morning (called "first-step pain"), when first standing up after any long period of sitting, or after increased levels of activity especially in non-supportive shoes
What are the treatments for plantar fasciitis?Most health care providers agree that initial treatment for plantarfasciitis should be quite conservative. You'll probably be advised to avoid any exercise that is making your pain worse. Your doctor may also advise one or more of these treatment options.
A heel pad
In plantar fasciitis, a heel pad is sometimes used to cushion the painful heel if you spend a great deal of time on your feet on hard surfaces.
Also, over-the-counter or custom-made orthotics, which fit inside your shoes, may be constructed to address specific imbalances you may have with foot placement or gait.
Stretching: Stretching exercises performed three to five times a day can help elongate the heel cord.
Ice: You may be advised to apply ice packs to your heel or to use an ice block to massage the plantar fascia before going to bed each night.
Pain relievers: Simple over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, are often helpful in decreasing inflammation and pain. If you have stomach trouble from such drugs, your health care provider may prescribe an alternative.
A night splint: A night splint is sometimes used to hold your foot at a specific angle, which prevents the plantar fascia from shortening during sleep.
Ultrasound: Ultrasound therapy can be performed to decrease inflammation and aid healing.
Steroid injections: Anti-inflammatory steroid injections directly into the tissue around your heel may be temporarily helpful. However, if these injections are used too many times, you may suffer other complications, such as shrinking of the fat pad of your heel, which you need for insulation. Loss of the fat pad could actually increase your pain -- or could even rupture the plantar fascia in rare cases.
Walking cast: In cases of long-term plantar fasciitis unresponsive to usual treatments, your doctor may recommend that you wear a short walking cast for about three weeks. This ensures that your foot is held in a position that allows the plantar fascia to heal in a stretched, rather than shortened, position.
Shock wave therapy: Extracorporeal shock wave therapy which may be prescribed prior to considering surgery if your symptoms have persisted for more than six months. This treatment does not involve any actual incisions being made rather it uses a high intensity shock wave to stimulate healing of the plantar fascia.
Surgery for plantar fasciitisMost practitioners agree that treatment for plantar fasciitis is a slow process. Most cases resolve within a year. If these more conservative measures don't provide relief after this time, your doctor may suggest other treatment.
In such cases, or if your heel pain is truly debilitating and interfering with normal activity, your doctor may discuss surgical options with you.
The most common surgery for plantar fasciitis is called a plantar fascia release and involves releasing a portion of the plantar fascia from the heel bone. A plantar fascia release can be performed through a regular incision or as endoscopic surgery, where a tiny incision allows a miniature scope to be inserted and surgery to be performed.
About one in 20 patients with plantar fasciitis will need surgery. As with any surgery, there is still some chance that you will continue to have pain afterwards.
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How can I prevent plantar fasciitis?
While there are no sure ways to prevent plantar fasciitis, these prevention tips may be helpful:
- Keep your weight under reasonable control.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
- Use care when starting or intensifying exercise programmes.