What Is Plantar Fasciitis? And What Does It Cause
Plantar Fasciitis is a heel pain that occurs mostly in middle-aged people. However, it may occur in younger people as well, if they stand a lot or they are too much, physically active. In any case, it is a common issue that causes pain in both or in just one foot. The main cause of this condition is straining of the plantar fascia. It is a ligament that links toes with the heel bone. When strained, it becomes weak and inflamed. The end result is the pain when you walk or even stand on the affected foot. I wrote up a nice guide on the best footwear for this issue.
In most cases, the Plantar Fasciitis appears due to the injury and it will go away after some time. On the other side, repeated injuries of this type will cause severe damages to the ligament in question. As aforementioned, people who stand, walk or run for a longer period of time have higher chances of getting this condition. However, some people are more likely to develop it than the others. In general, this condition occurs with people who:
- Are overweight
- Run or walk on hard surfaces for a long time
- Have flat feet
- Have narrow calf muscles
Keep in mind that the mentioned condition may occur if you wear shoes that are too narrow for your feet. This is known as one of the most common reasons for developing Plantar Fasciitis. The best solution is to wear adequate shoes that won’t make pressure on your feet.
When the Plantar Fasciitis is the most common
The first signs of the Plantar Fasciitis are usually noticed in the morning. The pain will occur after a few steps and it will get worse over time. Climbing stairs and standing may be intolerable. On the other side, running will be impossible, until you solve this issue. Most people have similar symptoms, but their foot hurts during the night as well. If this happens to you, it is probably another condition. Some of the most common are arthritis and nerve related conditions.
The first step you should take is to visit a doctor. He will examine your foot or feet and you will have to answer about your symptoms and previous illness. In most cases, you will have to take X-ray of the injured foot.
There are a lot of treatments for this condition, but different people react differently to them, so there is no the best treatment that offers the most effective results. Luckily, most treatments are simple and they won’t cause pain, but all of them are time-consuming. In addition, they can be divided into home and hospital treatments. In any case, you will have to start with home treatments, simply due to the fact they are simpler and less invasive. They include:
- Resting- This is the first treatment that most doctors recommend. It is mandatory in order to give the time, so the injured ligament can recover. Walking should be kept to a minimum and running is strictly forbidden.
- Reduce the swelling- Use ice and keep it on your heel and the foot. This is a highly recommended treatment and it should be paired with the previous one. The main goal is to reduce the inflammation and swelling. However, this simple treatment has a positive effect on reducing the pain.
- Replace your shoes- As aforementioned, one of the most common reasons for developing the condition in question are narrow and too tight shoes. If this is the main cause of the Plantar Fasciitis, you should replace your shoes and get bigger ones.
- Stretches- This is another treatment that can be paired with all aforementioned ones. In general, you should stretch your calves and toes. It reduces pain and speeds up the recovery.
All of these treatments are time-consuming and they should be used between 6 months and 1 year. If the condition is still present, you will have to get more advanced treatments. These are hospital treatments.
- Corticosteroid injections– You will receive these injections in the injured foot. The main goal is to help the ligament recover.
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy– In this case, a doctor will use waves in order to stimulate the injured ligament and help it recover. The main issue with this treatment is the fact it causes pain and bruises. In some rare cases, it can cause swelling as well.
- Surgery- This is the most advanced and the most complicated treatment. A surgeon will detach the ligament or extend the calf muscle. Both surgeries may be dangerous, but they are usually very successful.
Plantar Fasciitis complications
Most people are able to solve this condition and continue with a normal lifestyle. However, those that neglect the condition may develop chronic pain. This is an even more severe condition that is more difficult to solve as well. Those individuals have a high risk of injuring their:
- One or both knees
- The entire back
The Plantar Fasciitis can also cause nerve damages in the foot, which is one of the most severe side effects of the condition.
You also should know that all, medical (hospital) treatments mentioned above carry a certain amount of risk. The mentioned injections can make the ligament even weaker, which will have a negative effect the entire foot and may increase the pain. A surgery may fail and there are risks of bleeding and infection.
The bottom line
The Plantar Fasciitis usually isn’t a complicated and extremely dangerous condition, but it may become serious! It is extremely important to notice the first symptoms and visit a doctor. The home treatments are usually effective if you start using them on time. Keep in mind that all of them should be used for a long period of time, usually up to 1 year. If you wait, the condition will get worse and you may need a surgery. Despite the fact it is usually successful, it brings a certain amount of risk. The worst thing you can do is to completely neglect the pain and the Plantar Fasciitis.