Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation or swelling of the plantar fascia (a thick band of connective tissue that spreads across the bottom of your feet and unites your toes to the heel bone).
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most prevalent causes of pain in the heels. It is more common in runners and professional athletes. In addition, people who wear shoes with inadequate support, and those who are overweight have an increased risk of developing this foot condition.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The major symptom of people with plantar fasciitis is moderate to severe pain on the bottom of the heel. Some people also experience moderate pain at the bottom mid-foot area. The pain develops gradually over time and usually affects just one foot.
Some people describe this pain as dull, while others experience sharp/stabbing pain. Associated symptoms may include burning or ache on the bottom of the foot that may extend outward from the heel.
Usually, the pain and associated symptoms are worse in the morning when a patient takes his first steps or if he has been lying down or sitting for a while. Heel stiffness also make climbing stairs very difficult. After prolonged physical activity, the pain can get worse due to increased inflammation.
Causes and Risk Factors
The plantar fascia supports the arch and muscles of your foot. When it’s overly stretched due to trauma or injury, you can get tiny tears on its surface. This can bring on inflammation and pain.
You are at higher risk of plantar fasciitis if you:
- Are 40 to 60 years old
- Are female
- Are overweight or obese
- Have high arches or flat feet
- Have an unusual walk or foot position
- Have a tight Achilles tendons, or “heel cords”
- Often wear high-heeled shoes
- Wear worn-out shoes with thin soles
- Spend many hours standing each day
Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis
Your physician will ask about your complaints and check your feet to see where you are having pain. He sometimes wants you to have imaging tests of your heel bone to make sure something else is not causing your symptoms. These tests include:
- An X-ray to rule out joint conditions like arthritis or bone fractures
- An MRI to look for heel fractures
Reducing inflammation and pain in the plantar fascia ligament is an integral part of treatment, which is usually achieved by taking prescription medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) or other anti-inflammatory remedies. However, these don’t address the underlying damage to the ligament.
Other treatment options include;
Braces and Supports
Night splints can help stretch your calf muscles and the arch of your foot. They are a type of brace that fixes and holds your foot in a flexed position. Some also help lengthen the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon overnight. This is an effective way to prevent morning pain and stiffness.
A physical therapist can help strengthen lower leg muscles by instructing you in a series of exercises to strengthen the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. He may also teach how to tape
A therapist might also teach you how to apply athletic taping to support the bottom of your foot.
Besides traditional remedies, your doctor or physical therapists may recommend chiropractic adjustment of the affected ligament and fascia. Various studies have shown that early chiropractic care, along with traditional treatment remedies, can reduce the inflammation and help subside the pain.
Shockwave Therapy is a type of therapy that breaks up scar tissue, decreases inflammation and stimulates the formation of new blood vessels with increases blood circulation to the plantar fascia and helps with pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Shockwave therapy is a relatively new therapy and is highly effective in treating plantar fasciitis. Whole Health Partners is on the few clinics in Dallas, Tx that offers shockwave therapy.