Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain in adults. The disorder classically presents with pain that is particularly severe with the first few steps taken in the morning.
If you are someone who stands for a living- like cashier, runner, walker or hiker for instance, you can acquire plantar fasciitis. It mainly causes foot arch pain and/or heel pain and can be quite persistent.
Plantar Fasciitis gets its name from a specific area of the foot- plantar fascia. It is a relatively inflexible, strong, fibrous band on the bottom of the foot that supports the arch of your foot. Concisely, the inflammation of plantar fascia is a condition called plantar fasciitis.
Because plantar fascia is not very flexible, repetitive movements such as walking or running stretch it, causing small tears in it. This results into inflammation and pain. Some other factors like high arches, fallen arches, or a change in the walking surface also contribute to the condition.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
A lot of factors can be attributed for causing plantar fasciitis. A few of them are:
- Excessive weight load on the foot due to obesity or prolonged standing
- Mechanical imbalances of the foot
- Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Sudden increase in body weight (e.g., pregnancy)
- Sudden increase in walking or running
- Tight calf muscles is a very common cause of the disorder
- Wearing shoes with poor support, including flip-flops
Shortening of the plantar fascia overnight due to ankle bending can act as another cause for plantar fasciitis, causing the toes to point towards the ground. The plantar fascia stretches in the morning when you stand. This act of lengthening causes a great deal of pain.
The condition may not peculiarly be an overnight occurrence; it can happen at any time when the foot is flexed or pointed for an extended period of time. For instance, driving the car for long can cause fasciitis in the right foot, the one that operates the accelerator.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The main symptom is pain. A pain anywhere underside of your heel is a peculiar indicator of plantar fascia. However, a single spot can be identified as the main source of pain. This spot is often located 4 cm forward from your heel, and may be tender to touch.
This pain usually is worse when you take the first step in the morning. It may also be bad when you lift your foot after long periods of rest where no weight is placed on it. A long walk or being on your feet for longer periods of time can worsen the hurt. Resting the foot usually eases the discomfort. Some gentle or mild exercise may also help.
In case you are experiencing this pain, do not try and suddenly stretch your sole, it may worsen the pain. Walking the stairs or tip-toeing may aggravate this pain.
The stiffness and pain is generally experienced in only one foot by people however, it can occur in both the feet at the same time. Some people describe the pain as dull, while others experience a sharp pain, and some feel a burning or ache on the bottom of the foot extending outward from the heel.
Your health care provider will usually first recommend Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to reduce pain and inflammation along with heel and foot stretching exercises. Other steps to relieve pain include applying ice to the painful area. Do this at least twice a day for 10 - 15 minutes, more often in the first couple of days. Also, try wearing a heel cup, felt pads in the heel area, or shoe inserts.
Read more articles on Plantar Fasciitis.
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