Foot pain, especially plantar fasciitis, can be a difficult condition to deal with if not treated correctly. It can prevent people from doing simple tasks such as walking or getting around. Worse, sometimes you cannot even be sure where exactly the pain is coming from. Or, what is causing it, especially if you do not recall going through a painful injury. This happened to me recently. One day I was running and a day or two later, I was having trouble putting weight on my right foot.
Another important issue with foot pain that many do not realize is it can affect your posture and gait. The longer any foot injury persists, the greater the likelihood that you’ll have issues some where else, like your back.
Among the many causes of foot pain, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common. Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of the plantar fascia. This includes the long ligament that joins the heel at the back of your foot with your toes.
Plantar fascia is also responsible for supporting the arch of your foot, this enables the foot to support your bodyweight. Hence, any problems with this area of your foot could impact the ability of your foot to do its job.
Here is everything you need to know about plantar fasciitis.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Similar to other joints and muscles, the purpose of plantar fascia is to support the foot muscles and absorb stress. Hence, if the stress becomes too much, the plantar fascia will start to develop small tears. This, in turn, can lead to inflammation as a result of the body’s natural response to such injuries, thereby resulting in the development of plantar fasciitis. Although plantar fasciitis usually occurs for no specific reason, some factors can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
These include having high foot arches, wearing high heels frequently, and spending long hours each day standing. Athletes are also at higher risk of plantar fasciitis due to the repetitive, high-impact motions that come with running or jumping.
How Can It Be Diagnosed?
The symptom of plantar fasciitis that is easiest to observe is a sharp pain in the heel of the foot, particularly when you take your first steps after having been lying down or seated for a prolonged period of time. If this happens to you quite regularly, it is best to see a specialist right away.
When you make an appointment, the doctor will immediately ask you about your symptoms and perform a checkup to determine where the pain in your feet is coming from. To be sure of the cause, you may then have to undergo different tests.
These include an X-ray, MRI or other imaging tests to rule out other possible causes, such as arthritis or fractures.
How Can It Be Treated?
Treatment of plantar fasciitis is actually quite simple and does not require surgery. Typically, a doctor will prescribe that you ice the area and avoid any activities that might increase the pain, such as sports and exercise. The doctor may also prescribe you some anti-inflammatory medications to reduce inflammation and resulting pain.
Eventually, you may be advised to practice some physical therapy exercises and stretches to strengthen your leg and foot muscles to prevent another occurrence of plantar fasciitis. You may also be asked to wear more supportive shoes or to use sole inserts for better cushioning as you walk and run. Finally, get in the habit of using a foam roller targeting the lower body especially the calf area. Tight muscles and restricted fascia, if not addressed, can eventually lead to foot issues.
With proper lifestyle habits and medical advice, you should be able to fully recover from plantar fasciitis and prevent it from ever recurring. If you feel any symptoms, it is best to seek a professional’s opinion straight away for the quickest relief and recovery.
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