At CWG Footcare, we understand that foot health is crucial to one’s overall well-being. One common foot-related ailment we often assist patients with is Plantar Fasciitis, a condition that poses discomfort and potential disruption to one’s daily activities.
In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll delve into what Plantar Fasciitis is, its causes, its symptoms, and various treatment options available at our clinic, as well as preventative measures that can be taken to avoid future occurrences.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is a type of foot ailment characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes.
When strained, it gets weak, swollen, or inflamed, causing the bottom of your foot to hurt when you stand or walk. This condition is one of the most common causes of heel pain and can be a recurrent problem if left untreated.
Causes Of Plantar Fasciitis
Although various factors can cause Plantar Fasciitis, the most common causes are:
- Age: Most common between the ages of 40 and 60. As we age, the plantar fascia loses its elasticity, and the fat pad on the heel starts to thin out, making it more prone to inflammation and injury.
- Specific Types of Exercise: Activities that put a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue, such as long-distance running, ballet dancing, and aerobic dance, can contribute to an earlier onset of Plantar Fasciitis.
- Foot Mechanics: Being flat-footed, having a high arch, or having an abnormal walking pattern can affect the way your weight is distributed when you’re standing, and that can put added stress on the plantar fascia.
- Obesity: Excess pounds can put extra stress on your plantar fascia, increasing the likelihood of inflammation and pain.
- Occupations that Keep You on Your Feet: People in professions that require excessive standing or walking on hard surfaces, such as factory workers, teachers, and healthcare professionals, are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis.
- Ill-fitting Footwear: Shoes that are too tight, loose, or lack proper arch support can contribute to plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis
The most common symptom of Plantar Fasciitis is pain at the bottom of your foot, particularly near the heel.
The pain is usually intense in the morning when taking your first steps out of bed or after sitting for a long time. However, it might return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting.
Symptoms may include:
- Sharp, stabbing pain in or near the heel
- Pain that increases gradually over time
- Pain that is worse after exercise, but not necessarily during the activity
- Difficulty in walking due to the severity of the pain
Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis typically starts with a thorough examination of your foot by a qualified healthcare professional.
They will take your medical history, ask about your symptoms, and perform a physical examination, which may include checking your foot flexibility walking pattern, and looking for areas of tenderness.
Imaging tests, such as X-rays or ultrasounds, may be recommended if more severe conditions need to be ruled out.
At CWG Footcare, we are specifically trained in assessing, designing, manufacturing, and fitting custom foot orthotics and footwear modifications, like shoe lifts, which have proven beneficial for patients suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.
Treatment usually begins with simple steps like:
- Rest: Taking a break from activities that cause pain can help alleviate symptoms and give your plantar fascia a chance to heal.
- Ice: Applying ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
- Wear Appropriate Footwear: A good shoe can shield your foot from impact, allowing for a more natural gait. Shoes with proper arch support, cushioning, and a slightly raised heel can help reduce stress on the plantar fascia.
- Orthotics: Depending on the nature of your plantar fasciitis, custom-made foot orthotics can be beneficial. These devices are designed to provide proper arch support and redistribute pressure on your feet, alleviating pain and inflammation.
- Physical Therapy: Specific exercises can help you strengthen the muscles in your feet and lower legs, which can help prevent the problem from happening again. A qualified physical therapist can also teach you proper stretching techniques to improve the flexibility of the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon.
- Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, may be recommended to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
- Night Splints: Wearing a night splint, designed to stretch your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon during sleep, can help keep your foot neutral and provide gradual relief from pain.
- Corticosteroid Injections: In more severe cases, corticosteroid injections may be considered to help provide temporary relief from inflammation and pain. However, this treatment should be used sparingly as it can carry potential side effects.
Some simple measures you can take to prevent Plantar Fasciitis or prevent its recurrence include:
- Maintain a healthy weight to reduce the stress on your plantar fascia.
- Choose shoes that provide proper arch support, cushioning, and fit.
- Replace running shoes before they lose their support and cushioning.
- Stretch your feet, calves, and Achilles tendon regularly, especially before and after exercise.
- Gradually increase the intensity of your activities, allowing your muscles and fascia time to adapt.
Plantar Fasciitis is a treatable condition, and our team at CWG Footcare is ready to help you address the problem directly and alleviate the discomfort it comes with. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about our services and what we do at CWG Footcare.
We have knowledge, experience, and various products and services tailor-suited to treat your foot-related complaints. Don’t let foot pain hinder you from living an active, healthy lifestyle. Let’s walk the journey to foot health together.