What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that causes pain in the heel, across the sole of the foot and sometimes into the arch area of the foot too. It is caused by inflammation of the ‘plantar fascia’ ligament. This is a very important ligament, connecting the heel to the ball of the foot and playing a vital role in supporting the arch of your foot – taking the strain when you stand, walk or run.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel, across the sole of the foot (the part that touches the ground) and sometimes it can spread into the arch area of the foot too. The pain can be described as sharp, burning and aching. Usually the pain comes on slowly – i.e. you think it will go away but it persists. The pain is usually worst when you first place weight on your foot, for example, when you get up in the morning or after long periods of sitting. The pain can worsen as the day goes on and/or after long periods of weight bearing such as standing or walking for a long time. It can feel as though the more you do, the worse the pain gets.
Why did I get it?
Plantar fasciitis can affect anybody, but it is most common amongst people over the age of 40. There are many theories as to the development of the condition, these include: over using the ligament by doing too much standing/walking, excessive body weight and altered biomechanics e.g. people with flat feet or high arched feet or those with tight calves causing limited upward movement of the ankle).
Occupations that require extended periods of weight bearing i.e. those that work shifts of eight hours or more, are also linked with the development of plantar fasciitis.
How can I treat Plantar Fasciitis?
Treatment of plantar fasciitis begins with first-line strategies and should these fail then Simon is able to provide all the treatment options required to get you walking again:
- Padding and strapping. Placing pads in the shoe softens the impact of walking. Strapping helps support the foot and reduce strain on the fascia.
- Orthotic devices. Custom orthotic devices that fit into your shoe help correct the underlying structural abnormalities causing the plantar fasciitis.
- Injection therapy. In some cases, corticosteroid injections are used to help reduce the inflammation and relieve pain.
- Removable walking cast. A removable walking cast may be used to keep your foot immobile for a few weeks to allow it to rest and heal.
- Night splint. Wearing a night splint allows you to maintain an extended stretch of the plantar fascia while sleeping. This may help reduce the morning pain experienced by some patients.
- Physical therapy. Exercises and other physical therapy measures may be used to help provide relief.
No matter what kind of treatment you undergo for plantar fasciitis, the underlying causes that led to this condition may remain. Therefore, you will need to continue with preventive measures. Wearing supportive shoes, stretching, and using custom orthotic devices are the mainstay of long-term treatment for plantar fasciitis.
If you have any further questions please get in touch with South West Podiatry who will be able to advise you. Or visit http://www.swpodiatry.co.uk/heel-pain