Plantar fasciitis is a condition where a person has pain in the lower part of the foot, around the heel and arches. Generally, this pain does not last long and resolves on its own.
Plantar fasciitis has become one of the common factors that triggers heel pain. This condition involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes.
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing or sharp pain that occurs when a person takes his/her first steps in the morning. After getting up and moving, the pain typically decreases in intensity, but might return after long periods of standing or sitting.
Plantar fasciitis is more common in runners. This condition is also more likely to occur in people who are overweight and those who have a habit of wearing shoes with inadequate support.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is a tissue that connects the heel to the toes. It is shaped like a bowstring, supporting the arch of the foot and absorbing shock when walking.
When the plantar fascia is subjected to extreme tension and pressure, a small tear can occur in the plantar fascia. When repeated stretches and tears occur, the fascia will become irritated or inflamed.
It is unclear as to what exactly triggers a person to develop plantar fasciitis. However, based on research, some factors can increase the risk of developing this condition:
- Being female
- Being obese
- Often wearing high heels.
- Are in the age range of 40 to 60 years.
- Often stretching the soles of your feet while exercising.
- Engage in exercises that pull the calves and heels too tightly.
- Do plenty of walking, running and standing.
- Engage in sports activities on a hard surface.
- Wearing shoes with too thick or thin paddings
When to See a Doctor for Plantar Fasciitis?
The condition of plantar fasciitis is relatively common in athletes. When experiencing symptoms of plantar fasciitis, a person can consult a sports medicine specialist.
First, the doctor will conduct a medical interview to identify the patient’s medical history and symptoms experienced. During the examination, the doctor will examine the area of pain on the bottom of the patient’s leg.
To provide a more accurate diagnosis, the doctor may advise the patient to undergo imaging tests such as X-rays and MRI scans.
X-rays can show if there is an abnormality in the bone in the heel area. Meanwhile, MRI can help rule out other diseases that have the potential to cause similar symptoms as plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
When a person is exposed to plantar fasciitis, a stabbing or sharp pain will occur in the lower part of the foot, around the heel. The worst pain one usually experiences is when taking his/her first step in the morning after waking up.
The pain will gradually fade in intensity as the day goes by. However, the stabbing pain will return when the patient makes movements such as sitting after standing or standing after sitting.
In addition, the patient may also feel pain after engaging in physical exercises. During exercise, the patient may not feel any pain at all.
Patients are advised to see a doctor immediately if the symptoms are getting worse, such as when:
- The pain becomes severe, affecting the daily lives of the patient
- The pain gets worse over time or constantly comes and goes
- The pain does not get any better after attempting home remedies within two weeks.
- Feeling tingling or numbness in the foot, especially in the lower part of the foot near the heel area.
- Dealing with diabetes. For diabetes patients, problems or abnormalities in the feet can be more serious and dangerous.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
The condition of plantar fasciitis does not require special treatment methods. Plantar fasciitis might resolve on its own after a few months.
Patients with plantar fasciitis are encouraged to get enough rest and take pain relievers to help reduce swelling.
If getting rest and taking pain relievers do not work to improve the condition, the patient may consult an orthopaedic doctor for further examination.
Besides pain relievers, another option for relieving symptoms of plantar fasciitis is steroid injections. However, there are side effects involved with steroid injections. Therefore, steroid injections are only performed if pain relievers and therapy do not work to cure the patient’s condition.
Below are common therapy treatments performed for patients with plantar fasciitis:
- Physical therapy: doing sports activities and stretching are good for the condition of the lower leg muscles.
- Night splints: wearing splints that stretches your calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep
- Customized arch supports: orthotics help distribute pressure to your feet more evenly.
The doctor may refer the patient to a physiotherapist for exercise therapy or help recommend shoe choices that are good for foot health.
Treatment Cost for Plantar Fasciitis
The treatment costs for plantar fasciitis are varied, depending on the symptoms and the method of treatment chosen.
For more information regarding the estimated costs of plantar fasciitis treatment, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis
To prevent plantar fasciitis disease, one can engage in routine exercise. Physical exercise will maintain your body’s fitness, including the health of your lower leg muscles.
Before and after exercising, make sure to always stretch or warm up to prevent any potential injury.
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis
During the treatment period, patients with plantar fasciitis should rest and avoid excessive sports activities for some time. Even at home, it is recommended to wear shoes or footwear with suitable pads.
Furthermore, use cold water or ice cubes to apply the compress to the affected area for about 15 minutes and do this three to four times a day. This can help reduce pain and swelling.