Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. It happens when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. Essentially, it is the ligament that stretches from your heel to your toes. The plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot by absorbing pressure and bearing your weight. “Fasciitis” means “inflammation of the fascia of a muscle or organ, while “plantar” refers to the sole of the foot. It’s very common for athletes, specifically runners, however plantar fasciitis can affect anyone. Approximately, 1 in 10 people will develop plantar fasciitis at some point in their lifetime, and it is most common in young male athletes and middle-aged overweight females.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Anyone who constantly walks on a hard surface, or pushes off with their foot repeatedly, is at risk to develop plantar fasciitis. There is no obvious cause, however, you may be more likely to develop it if you:
- Have high arches
- Have flat feet
- Wear unsupportive shoes
- Are obese
- Are an athlete
- Are a runner or jumper
- Work or exercise of hard surfaces
- Stand for long periods of time
- Exercise without stretching your calves
What Are The Symptoms?
There are a wide range of symptoms of plantar fasciitis, which affect each individual differently. The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Pain on or around the heel
- Increased pain after exercising
- Pain in your arch
- Increased pain in the morning or after sitting for a period of time
- Swollen heel
- Continued pain for months
- Tight Achilles tendon
Did you know? 80% of people report a tight Achilles tendon when visiting a practitioner.
To Make Matters Worse
If you currently have plantar fasciitis, you may be doing things that are making it worse. If you don’t already have it, then you could be doing things that are increasing your risk of developing it. Here are the top 5 daily habits that can cause or worsen plantar fasciitis:
Being overweight not only increases your chances of developing plantar fasciitis, but a list of other conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. It puts more pressure and strain on the plantar fascia. One pound over your ideal weight can increase the pressure on your knees, hips, and ankles by up to 8 pounds.
#2: Sitting or Standing for Long Periods
Sometimes sitting or standing for long periods of time is part of your work or daily routine. However, this is contributing to the wear and tear on your plantar fascia. To help, ensure you are taking regular breaks to sit if you’re always standing, or to stand if you sit all day. It is also helpful to try to avoid standing in the same position. If you need to be on your feet for a while, try changing positions or moving around if possible.
#3: Footwear Choice
A lot of the time we choose footwear based on style or comfort, however, wearing flat shoes, such as flip flops, can contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis. Putting a huge amount of pressure and stress on feet, without the proper support or padding, only aggravates the condition. Your footwear should allow your foot to take its natural position.
#4: No Pain, No Gain
Wrong! Pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. If you ignore these signals, you can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis, or making it worse by increasing tearing or eventually rupture of your plantar fascia. Not only can it make your plantar fasciitis worse, it can also force your body to compensate for the heel pain and stand in unnatural positions. In the long run, this will put more stress on your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back.
#5: Stretching and Strengthening
Making sure you stretch before a workout of physical activity can help to prevent plantar
fasciitis. In addition, strengthening your calves, Achilles tendon, and the bottom of your foot will benefit your plantar fascia and help to prevent plantar fasciitis. You want to ensure that these areas are strong enough to support and stabilize your foot, while also loose enough to prevent tearing.
Like with any condition, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better. This can improve your chances of reducing symptoms and allowing your foot to heal. Most people can treat their plantar fasciitis with rest and ice, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce some pain and inflammation. Some of the main treatments recommended to treat plantar fasciitis are:
- Rest and modifications
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Physical therapy
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy
- Steroid injection
If you are still experiencing pain, you may benefit from foot surgery.
Q: Can plantar fasciitis cause pain in the toes?
A: Not usually a symptom, but can happen in some cases.
Q: Can plantar fasciitis cause pain in the calf?
A: No, it does not cause calf pain. Calf pain is usually caused by tight muscles, which can add additional stress on the plantar fascia.
Q: Can plantar fasciitis cause ankle pain?
A: Most of the pain is located in the foot, but if irritated, it can move up to your ankle.
Q: Can plantar fasciitis cause back pain?
A: A lot of people who suffer from plantar fasciitis experience back pain. There is no direct cause, however, back pain can be a result of changing your posture to avoid your foot pain while walking or standing.
Q: Can plantar fasciitis cause arthritis?
A: Plantar fasciitis won’t cause arthritis, but you can still develop it in the bones of your feet.
To learn how Orthotics Direct can help support your foot health and relieve your plantar fasciitis pain, contact us today at 1-800-643-1969!