Plantar Fasciitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes pain in the heel and arch of the foot. It is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, affecting up to 10% of adults.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a tough band of tissue that helps support the arch of the foot. It acts like a shock absorber, helping to cushion the foot when you walk or run. When the plantar fascia is overused or injured, it can become inflamed. This inflammation causes pain in the heel and arch of the foot.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
The exact cause of plantar fasciitis is unknown, but there are a number of factors that can contribute to its development, including:
- Overuse of the foot, such as from running or standing for long periods of time
- Flat feet
- Tight calf muscles
- Sudden changes in activity level
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel and arch of the foot. The pain is usually worse in the morning when you first get out of bed. It may also be worse after sitting or standing for a long time. Other symptoms of plantar fasciitis may include:
- Stiffness in the foot
- Tenderness in the heel and arch of the foot
- Pain that gets worse with activity
- Pain that goes away with rest
Identifying Plantar Fasciitis
If you are experiencing heel pain, it is important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and discuss treatment options. Your doctor will likely ask you about your symptoms and medical history. They may also examine your foot and perform a physical exam. In some cases, your doctor may order an X-ray to rule out other conditions, such as a stress fracture.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
There are a number of treatments for plantar fasciitis, including:
- Rest: Avoid activities that make your pain worse.
- Ice: Apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
- Stretching: Stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon several times a day.
- Footwear: Wear supportive shoes with good arch support.
- Orthotics: Custom-made orthotics can help to relieve pain and support the arch of the foot.
- Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help to relieve pain. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a stronger pain medication or a corticosteroid injection.
Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis
There are a number of things you can do to prevent plantar fasciitis, including:
- Warming up before exercise.
- Stretching after exercise.
- Wearing supportive shoes with good arch support.
- Losing weight if you are overweight or obese.
- Avoiding activities that put stress on your feet, such as running on hard surfaces.
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that can be painful and debilitating. However, with proper treatment, most people with plantar fasciitis can get relief from their pain and return to their normal activities. It is important to get accurate information about plantar fasciitis from reliable sources. This will help you understand the condition and make informed decisions about treatment.