Unexplained Heel Pain? You could be experiencing Plantar Fasciitis. Heel pain is common, especially among athletes, and seniors and this may be caused by a condition known as Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is caused by inflamed or torn fascia, which is the thick, weblike ligament that stretches from your heel to your toes. This condition is most frequently diagnosed on people who spend a lot of their day walking or standing on a hard surface. The initial symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis are usually a dull pain, or a stabbing one at the bottom of the heel. If left untreated, the condition will most likely worsen and require the need for more aggressive medical intervention and in some cases, surgery. The plantar fascia acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot, helping you walk. In case of inflammation or degeneration of this ligament, physiotherapy can be answer. In this article we discuss all you need to know about Plantar Fasciitis, its causes, symptoms, and treatment.
What are the causes of Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is typically the result of inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. There are a number of risk factors which contribute to the onset of this condition.
Most common causes of Plantar Fasciitis are:1.Age: Most cases of plantar fasciitis is a case of were and tear of the ligament. Men and women between the ages of 40 and 70 are at the highest risk for developing plantar fasciitis2.Pregnancy: Women who are pregnant often experience bouts of plantar fasciitis, particularly during the later stage of pregnancy.3.Running: Long distance running can cause a lot of stress in the plantar fascia tissue. If you’re a long-distance runner, you may be more likely to develop plantar fascia problems.4.Occupation: You’re also at risk if you have a very active job that involves being on your feet often, such as being a teacher, working in a factory or being a restaurant server.5.High Arches: If you have structural foot problems, such as very high arches or very flat feet, you may develop plantar fasciitis. 6.Footwear: Simply wearing shoes with soft soles and poor arch support can also result in plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis testing and diagnosis
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that develops gradually over time. In the initial stages the pain can be either dull or sharp. Commonly, the pain is at its peak in the morning when you take your first steps out of bed, or when you get up after you’ve been sitting down for a while.
To diagnose plantar fasciitis a physical exam is required to check for tenderness in your foot and the exact location of the pain. During the examination, you may be asked to flex your foot while they push on the plantar fascia to see if the pain gets worse. In some cases, an X-ray or an MRI scan may be necessary to check that nothing else is causing your heel pain.
Best Tips and Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
Exercise can reduce strain on the heel and prevent the plantar fascia from tearing and strengthen the supporting muscles.
Here are some exercises and tips that are known to reduce inflammation and will help heal your plantar fasciitis.•Stretching your calf and toe muscles•Picking up marbles with your toes•Wearing supportive, sturdy, well-cushioned shoes.•Using a night splint to reduce tightness in the calf muscle.•Massaging the area.•Limiting physical activity including prolonged standing.
Physiotherapy can help stop Plantar Fasciitis Before It Starts
Physiotherapy is a key part of treatment for plantar fasciitis. Studies on those who have plantar fasciitis have shown dramatic improvement within months of starting treatment. Physical therapy for plantar fasciitis is divided into multiple phases. The first phase focuses on reducing the inflammation and protecting the tissue. This is done with Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), which makes use of small pulses of electrical stimulation.Your therapist can also suggest the use of Laser therapy. The photo-thermal effect is known to increase the biochemical reaction speed and tissue metabolism to stimulate deep healing.
The next phase is to increase the muscular strength and control in the muscle that’s support the foot arch and ankle. Your physical therapist can help you stretch your plantar fascia and Achilles’ tendons and strengthen your leg and heel muscles with exercise. This will help stabilize your walk and lessen the workload on your plantar fascia. If pain continues your physiotherapist may recommend extracorporeal shock wave therapy. In this therapy, sound waves bombard your heel to stimulate healing within the ligament. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy has been proven to be effective in relieving pain due to plantar fasciitis. Custom foot Orthotics can also help relieve the pain due to plantar fasciitis. Using appropriate shoe inserts, arch supports will redirect the stress on the ligament, thereby loosening the overly tight plantar fascia.
If you’re experiencing plantar fasciitis pain, it’s a good idea to consult with a specialist from Caring Hands Physiotherapy. We will be able to tailor your exercises to your specific needs and create a treatment plan that helps relieve your pain.