Plantar Fasciitis Causes Symptoms And Treatment
Plantar fasciitis is a disease condition in which the plantar fascia is inflamed. The plantar fascia is a soft tissue structure that is present in the sole of the foot. This soft tissue connects the calcaneum to the bones under the toes. I was an athlete who was into long distance running and in spite of all the care and precautions that I took, I started suffering from plantar fasciitis. That was when I wanted to learn more about the disease and started reading various resources.
I realized that though the plantar fascia is not a muscle, it is an important tissue in the sole as it connects various structures. The tension in the plantar fascia also determines if you will suffer from plantar fasciitis or heel spur as it is also known. The plantar fascia can be injured in various situations and these are the usual causes of plantar fasciitis.
Causes of plantar fasciitis
1. Excessive pronation of the foot:
If you have a foot that turns outward while walking that is more than the normal range, then this causes a increased stress on the plantar fascia causing plantar fasciitis.
When you are obese, the stress that is loaded on the fascia increases and this too leads to plantar fasciitis.
Athletes are highly prone for injuries to the plantar fascia if they do not have adequate warm up. When athletes run, they initially have a push off where the foot is loaded to a great extent. In this loading, the plantar fascia undergoes a tremendous increase in force. This sudden increase in the load causes injuries to the plantar fascia. The microtrauma that occurs will cause the fascia to become inflamed leading to heel spur.
There are various symptoms of the disease, but the most common one is the sudden increase in the pain in the plantar fascia. The increase in pain can be unbearable in most conditions. Early morning pain is a characteristic sign of plantar fasciitis. Some people may have the pain in the heel area, though other people can have the pain under the distal attachment of the plantar fascia. Those who have a stretch on the full fascia will have pain all over the plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis symptoms
I have been a pretty healthy person all my life till a few months back when I first felt pain in my feet as I got up from the bed, early in the morning. I ignored the pain as I did not think that it could be serious. The pain persisted and never went away completely and so I had to seek treatment. I went to the Physician who referred me to the Orthopedician, who assessed me and then referred me to a Podiatrist with the diagnosis of Plantar fasciitis. The pain I was having in my feet was part of the other plantar fasciitis symptoms that I was suffering from.
I was not a person who spends a lot of time exercising or playing outdoor games, so I never thought that I could get such pains. Then I realized that the heel spur is a condition that need not occur only in those who are athletic. Even common people who do not have a lifestyle that involves strenuous activities may also suffer from plantar fasciitis symptoms.
Who can suffer from Plantar fasciitis symptoms
I also learnt that though people with no other problems and lifestyle risks can suffer from plantar fasciitis symptoms, the people who are more at risk of suffering from the symptoms include those who are obese, those involved in running, cycling and other sports activities. Pregnant women and people who are old are also at a risk of suffering from plantar fasciitis symptoms.
There are some specific signs and symptoms that will help you to be able to identify the plantar fasciitis pain and differentiate it from the pain due to various other causes. The heel spur pain is present only in the sole of the foot. Though many people may feel pain only in the heel, there are some like me who have pain all over the fascia that extends from the heel to the front of the foot, where it gets attached to the metatarsal bones.
Plantar fasciitis Pain
The pain is usually very severe in the morning and occurs the minute you get out of bed. In fact the pain is so severe that you will not feel like keeping the foot on the ground. Though the pain is very severe in the mornings, it need not be limited to that time. There are some who can have severe pain after a few hours of rest, when they have not done any activity for some time and get up again. The severity of the pain could also feel like heat for some people. This is the reason that many people complain of a burning pain in their heel, which seems to be the symptom. Though these are the commonest plantar fasciitis symptoms, there can be some that are unique to a person and may mimic other diseases.
Plantar fasciitis treatment
As we know, Plantar fasciitis is a condition where there is an inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia, as the name indicates, is present in the sole of the foot. It is a fibrous tissue that stretches from the heel to the front of the foot. The fascia can get damaged in various conditions. It can become injured in runners or it can get damaged in people who stand for a prolonged period of time. Even people who have an increase in their body weight may suffer from plantar fasciitis.
Short list of treatment options
There are various treatments that are available for plantar fasciitis. These include icing that is given in any acute pain. Injuries that have caused plantar fasciitis will respond well to icing immediately after the injury. Other than icing, treatments like shockwave therapy, massage over the plantar fascia, stretching of the calf muscles and shoe inserts are common. These treatments may need to be continued for a long time, depending on the cause and the duration of the pain. The prognosis is very good and many people are completely cured of plantar fasciitis.
The treatment is very important because I have suffered for many months from this condition and in spite of trying various home remedies it did not get cured. I had to meet a Physician who referred me to a Physical therapist and a Podiatrist who assessed my foot and then used various remedies to help me overcome the pain.
Some of the methods that were used by the Physical therapist and Podiatrist to treat my pain, which is also the treatment for any person ho suffers from Plantar fasciitis is as follows:
Specific treatment for heel spur
The application of ice over the plantar fascia is the most important and immediate treatment after any injury to the plantar fascia that causes plantar fasciitis. The application of ice can be with ice packs or even towels that are filled with crushed ice. A 5-minute application would be sufficient twice a day to reduce the inflammation and decrease the pain.
The advice by both the Physical therapist and the Podiatrist on the importance of rest made me to realize that I should rest my foot completely. It has an immediate effect and the pain reduced considerably as soon as there is a limitation in the activity.
3. Weight loss:
Weight loss is another important factor that plays a role in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. The Plantar fascia becomes inflamed only when there is a load or stress on it. This load increases in a obese person. Decreasing the weight will automatically decrease the pain of plantar fasciitis and is a major treatment of plantar fasciitis.
Stretching plays an important role in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. The Tendo Achilles should be stretched, as is the plantar fascia. There are various exercises that will help to stretch and then lengthen the plantar fascia. Once the fascia is lengthened, the pain associated with plantar fasciitis will decrease.
The Podiatrist will assess the foot for the cause of the plantar fasciitis. There are various causes and the treatment will also depend on the cause of the pain. Splints that stretch the calf muscles and the plantar fascia can be used to treat the plantar fasciitis.
6. Plantar fasciitis massage
Massage is one of the most relaxing aspect that is enjoyed by the person who is being massaged. There are various reasons for the relaxation and the enjoyment of the massage. These have made massage to be a very popular treatment for various diseases of the soft tissues like muscles and fascia. The treatment of plantar fasciitis with massage is no different. Last year, I suddenly had pain in the sole of the right foot that did not respond to various home remedies. Finally I visited a Podiatrist who assessed my foot and started treating me with plantar fasciitis massage and also night splints.
Plantar fasciitis massage is a very important adjunct to the treatment of plantar fasciitis. The massage helps in many ways. The first reason for the massage to the plantar fascia is to stretch the fascia. As the fascia is repeatedly massaged, the fascia gets stretched. It also becomes reduced in size, the pain associated with the plantar fasciitis also gets reduced in intensity.
Why Plantar fasciitis massage?
Another reason for the massage is because as the massage is done, the sensation of the touch is perceived by the brain. The touch sensation is sensed by the brain much more than the pain and so the pain seems to reduce as soon as the massage is over. This is an important reason for the massage to be done.
The other reason for the plantar fasciitis massage is because it gives a general relaxation to the person leading to pain relief. The massage has an effect of giving a sensory stimulus on the skin. This stimulus perceived by the brain relaxes the person. This relaxation in turn reduces the spasm associated with the pain in the plantar fasciitis leading to pain relief.
Plantar fasciitis massage methods
The various methods of massaging the foot of the person suffering from plantar fasciitis are that the therapist uses the hand to massage the area under the ball of the toe and also all over the plantar fascia. This gives the desired effect. In case you are not in a situation to get treated by the therapist, you need some home remedy. You can derive the same or at least a similar effect by rolling the sole of the foot over a cylindrical object. This rolling will give the same effect of a massage being done on your plantar fascia. This massage will help to reduce the pain in the plantar fascia to a great extent. This therapy should be tried by any person who is suffering from plantar fasciitis.
7.Plantar Fascia Stretching
The stretching of the plantar fascia all through the night with the plantar fasciitis night splint will cause the plantar fascia to be ready for the increased load of the body weight on it. The regular use of the night splints will cause the plantar fascia to be stretched. Stretching for a time that is long enough for the plantar fascia to be stretched is needed.
Slow and sustained stretching of the plantar fascia is done with the night splint. Various devices can be used for the stretching. Some of the night splints can be bought directly and is readymade. There are other night splints that need to be custom made depending on the size and contour of the foot of the person suffering from plantar fasciitis.
8. Plantar fasciitis night splint:
The night splint can be a device that slowly stretched various tissues in the leg. The stretching of the Tendo Achilles and the plantar fascia is done by the night splints. The importance of stretching is that as the athlete or the individual may not have time to stretch the plantar fascia. The other reason is that the plantar fascia needs to be stretched for it to be in the optimal length for it to function normally without becoming shortened. If the fascia gets shortened, then the pain of the plantar fasciitis will increase.
The night splints play an important role in the treatment of heel spur. If the plantar fasciitis needs to be cured completely, then the treatment is not enough. Plantar fasciitis night splints play a major role as an adjunct in the treatment of the condition. The night splints were for me to wear it during the night. These splints were for stretching the plantar fascia in my leg. Other than the splints, the massage was done by the therapist who treated me. The therapist also taught me a few self massage methods that were very effective in treating the pain.