Plantar Fasciitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Plantar Fasciitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Plantar fasciitis is a prevalent condition that many people have been diagnosed with at one point or another. While it might not seem like a significant health condition, it can be excruciating and debilitating. 

This post aims to provide you with a better understanding of plantar fasciitis, its causes, treatments, and symptoms.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is the band of tissue that extends from the bottom of the foot to the ankle. Inflammation affecting the band is the source of plantar fasciitis. 

The plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous band of tissue extending along the foot’s bottom. It connects the heel bone and the ball of the foot and is responsible for your arch and heel shape.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the ligament connecting your heel to your toes (plantar fascia) gets strained. In some cases, it’s unclear why this happens. It does not appear to be clear what causes plantar fasciitis, but some factors could increase your risk. The following are some of them:

  • Spending long hours on your feet
  • Improper foot structure
  • Invisible orthopedic issues
  • Excessive walking or running
  • Obesity and high heels
  • Age and injury. The incidence of plantar fasciitis increases with age, usually from 40 to 60 years.
  • Wearing shoes with poor cushioning or support
  • The nature of your job

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

In most cases, heel pain and arch pain are the main symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Sometimes it affects both feet, but it is more common to affect just one foot.

There can sometimes be a burning or aching feeling that extends outward from the heel of the foot. The pain may flare up following prolonged physical activity, which may result from irritation or inflammation. 

Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosis

To discover where you have pain on your feet, your doctor will ask about your symptoms. A doctor will sometimes order imaging tests to confirm that nothing else is the cause of your problem. Among these tests are:

  • Checking for bone fractures or arthritis with an X-ray
  • Fracture detection with an MRI

Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

Treatment for plantar fasciitis often starts with at-home remedies like rest, icing, braces, and anti-inflammatory drugs. For those who do not feel better with those treatments, a corticosteroid injection directly into the hurt part of the ligament can be helpful. Your doctor can perform this procedure in their office.

Among the most common treatment forms are:

Medications

Several pain relievers may decrease the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, etc.) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).

Therapies

  • Physical therapy: This usually helps to stretch and strengthen your lower leg muscles and Achilles tendon. Another technique that a therapist might teach you is applying athletic taping to support your foot.
  • Night splints: You may be advised to wear a splint to stretch your calves and the arch of your foot during the night by your physical therapist or doctor. In this way, the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon stretch overnight.
  • Orthotics are arch supports (orthotics) that your doctor can prescribe to help distribute pressure to your feet.

Surgical or other procedures

You may need to take the following medications if more conservative methods do not work:

  • Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: This procedure uses sound waves to stimulate healing in the area of heel pain. The process is used occasionally for patients with chronic plantar fasciitis who aren’t responding to a conservative course of treatment. 
  • Ultrasonic tissue restoration: This technique involves guiding a needle-like probe through damaged plantar fascia tissue with ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound energy is employed to break up the damaged tissue, then suctioned out using a probe tip.
  • Surgery: The plantar fascia hardly ever separates from the heel bone with surgery, and in most cases, it is an option only after all other treatments have failed. A minimally invasive procedure can be performed openly or with local anesthesia through a small incision.

Conclusion

Plantar fasciitis is a widespread disorder of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis usually causes only mild pain, but it can become quite severe and debilitating. It can affect all age groups but is most common in older adults and those with a predisposition to injury.