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Plantar Fasciitis: Causes and Treatments

Plantar Fasciitis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of foot pain which can lead to difficulty with walking and weightbearing activities. The plantar fascia is located at the bottom of your foot which runs from your heel to your toes. It supports the bottom of your foot and acts as a shock absorber when you walk, run or jump. Click on this link for more information on anatomy of the plantar fascia

Plantar fasciitis is more prevalent in certain populations, for example, people who are overweight or who have a fallen arch (pes planus). It can also be more common in people who are more active like runners or dancers. Another example of individuals who may get pain from plantar fasciitis are people who are on their feet all day like chefs or teachers.

Symptoms

For people who present with this painful condition often the first step in the morning causes a stabbing intense pain which can be located at the heel or the mid-foot area. As the body begins to warm up the foot pain can subside but may return later in the day after long periods of standing, walking, or sitting. The pain can be described as dull or sharp or a burning ache at the bottom of the foot. People generally do not feel pain during sport or other activities, but after they stop the inflammation and pain can become more prevalent.

 
Causes

The plantar fascia starts at your heel and finishes at your toes, where it supports the underpart of your foot and is very tough. Over time tension and stress on the fascia can cause microtears and inflammation which in turn causes pain. Eventually the pain intensifies to a point where it is difficult to do regular activities like weight-bearing or walking.

Risk Factors
  • Activity: certain types of sporting activities can put a lot of stress and strain on the plantar fascia leading to microtears and inflammation, for example, running, gymnastics or dancing.
  • Age: if you are between the age of 40-60 years you are more at risk. However, please be aware the pain in for foot from this condition can appear at any age.
  • Biomechanics: if you have a flat foot it can lead to a stress and pressure on the bottom of the foot which eventually leads to pain; the same applies for high arches.
  • Occupational: people who are on their feet all day as part of their livelihood are more at risk to developing plantar fasciitis.
  • Overweight: if you carry more weight it will put more pressure on the plantar fascia which can lead to pain and inflammation.
Tips for home remedies
  • If you are into athletics make sure to change your footwear within a timely fashion (do not wear down your running shoes)
  • If you find a certain activity is provoking your pain, try changing something that will decrease the pressure on your feet. For example, instead of running try cycling or swimming
  • Maintain a health weight
  • Use ice to decrease the inflammation and relieve pain
  • Wear good supportive footwear and if necessary, talk to your physio about orthotics
  • Stretch your calf muscle and arches

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