Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain seen by Podiatrists. Most people who suffer from this condition experience severe pain in the heel of the foot when taking their first few steps out of bed in the morning or after prolonged sitting. The pain classically occurs again after lunch, and after exercise.
Some people feel a sharp/stabbing pain, whilst others feel a dull ache.
If plantar fasciitis is not treated appropriately it may become a chronic condition and will prevent you from walking. It may also contribute to developing symptoms in your feet, knees, hip and back due to the changes in the way in which you walk to accommodate the condition.
The good news is that Plantar Fasciitis can be treated relatively easily and results of treatment can be felt quickly.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament which runs along the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia ligament is made of fibrous bands of tissue and runs between the heel bone and your toes and stretches with every step. Inflammation develops when tears occur in the tissue.
The plantar fascia ligament is like a rubber band and loosens and contracts with movement. It also absorbs significant weight and pressure. Because of this function, plantar fasciitis can easily occur from a number of reasons.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The condition is influenced by the mechanics of the foot. Having conditions such as flat feet, high arches, pronation, or having an abnormal gait (the way in which the foot hits the ground), the fascia tissue can become overworked or stretched abnormally, resulting in tears and inflammation.
Among the most common is an overload of physical activity or exercise.
Another popular factor that contributes to plantar fasciitis is wearing incorrect shoes. In many cases, shoes either do not fit properly, or provide inadequate support or cushioning. While walking or exercising in improver shoes, weight distribution becomes impaired, and significantly stress can be added to the plantar fascia ligament.
How is the Condition Diagnosed?
In most cases, a thorough medical history, assessment of the symptoms, analysis of foot function and footwear will confirm diagnosis.
In some cases it may be necessary to have an X-Ray to rule out other conditions including heel spurs.