Plantar Fasciitis – Identifying Effective Treatments

Plantar Fasciitis – Identifying Effective Treatments

Causes And Treatments of Plantar Fasciitis

What is plantar fasciitis?

Millions worldwide suffer from plantar fasciitis, a common and painful foot condition.

Plantar fasciitis most commonly affects active adults aged 25 to 65.

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia, a fibrous band of tissue in the sole that supports the arch, is overworked or stretched.

Overuse or time causes the fascia to lose elasticity or resilience and become inflamed, resulting in pain.

Diagnoses and Tests

How is Inflammation of the plantar fascia diagnosed?

Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed by a clinician following a physical examination. They’ll ask you about your symptoms and examine your feet.

They may lightly press on the plantar fascia to check for inflammation and determine your pain level.

Inform your doctor about the daily discomfort you experience.

Tell him where and when your foot hurts the most during the day.

What tests do doctors use to diagnose plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is commonly diagnosed without the need for any tests.

If the discomfort is believed to be caused by another problem or condition, imaging studies, such as photographing your foot, may be performed.

plantar fasciitis treatment heal of foot

What are the signs of plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis symptoms can develop gradually over time or quickly during strenuous physical activity.

Recognising the indicators is crucial for timely action and effective therapy.

The severity and duration of symptoms can vary from person to person. The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis are:

Pain at the sole near the heel is the most prevalent and identifiable sign of plantar fasciitis. This discomfort could be a minor ache or a sharp stabbing sensation. The arch of the foot, located on the underside, may ache or burn.

I have acute heel or foot pain when I wake up or after a lengthy relaxation. This stiffness passes typically after a few minutes of walking.

Heel or foot pain that worsens after physical activity but does not usually occur during exercise. Climbing stairs might be uncomfortable.

Tenderness when you touch the affected area, incredibly close to the heel.

Stiffness in the foot is standard, especially after waking up or sitting for an extended period. This stiffness makes walking uncomfortable.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue on the sole (the fascia) is overstretched or subjected to significant strain from repetitive stress during activities such as standing or running.

It may also be connected with significant weight gain, particularly during pregnancy.

Constant strain and tension on the plantar fascia can result in chronic degeneration or microscopic rips in the fascial fibres, particularly where the fascia meets the calcaneus.

In addition to tears, ultrasonography scans usually reveal calcification and thickness of the plantar fascia.

Specific Risk Factors Can Increase Your Susceptibility.

  • Foot arch issues (both flat and high)
  • Long-distance running or downhill jogging on uneven terrain.
  • It is being overweight.
  • A stretched Achilles tendon
  • Shoes with low arch support or soft soles
  • Abrupt fluctuations in activity level.

The diagnosis of plantar fasciitis

If you suspect you have plantar fasciitis or are experiencing recurring foot discomfort, see your doctor for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Early intervention and appropriate plantar fasciitis treatment can help you feel better and live better.

Your doctor will evaluate your foot, looking for the following symptoms or risk factors of plantar fasciitis:

  • An area of most extraordinary tenderness on the bottom of the foot, immediately in front of the heel bone.
  • High arch or flat foot (risk factor)
  • Limited dorsiflexion, or “upward movement” of the ankle.

If you suspect you have plantar fasciitis or recurring foot pain, consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

In addition to a physical examination of your foot, your doctor may recommend an X-ray or ultrasound if your medical history or examination reveals other injuries or diseases, such as heel spurs, fractures, or arthritis.

Furthermore, the ultrasound scan may show thickening and swelling of the plantar fascia, a common disease symptom.

If the early treatment techniques do not reduce your pain or your doctor feels that another disease is causing your discomfort, he or she may propose a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or an ultrasound scan.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

Most plantar fasciitis patients recover within nine to twelve months after initiating non-surgical treatment techniques.

Standard treatment options include:

Rest. Taking a break from activities that cause discomfort is usually the first step in treatment.

Rest gives the plantar fascia time to heal. During this healing phase, you can engage in low-impact sports such as cycling or swimming and less strenuous activities on your feet than walking or running.

Ice. Applying ice to the affected area may help to lessen inflammation and pain. Try rubbing your foot against a cold water bottle or using an ice pack to the painful area.

Ice should be applied thrice daily for 15 to 20 minutes, especially after unpleasant exercises.

Stretching. Strict foot and calf muscles aggravate plantar fasciitis. Targeted stretching exercises might help extend these muscles and alleviate strain on the plantar fascia.

Night splints. Night splints stretch the plantar fascia as you sleep. This prevents the plantar fascia from tightening overnight, minimising morning soreness and stiffness.

While challenging to adjust to initially, a night splint can effectively relieve heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis.

Wear supportive shoes. To avoid plantar fasciitis pain, wear shoes with adequate support and cushioning. Avoid shoes that are out of date or do not provide sufficient support.

If your pain persists, your doctor may prescribe orthotics, which are custom-made shoe inserts.

Physical treatment. Your doctor may advise you to undertake an exercise programme with a physiotherapist focusing on stretching the calf muscles and plantar fascia therapy.

A physiotherapy regimen may also involve targeted cold treatments, massage, and other therapies to alleviate inflammation in the plantar fascia area.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).  Over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, can relieve pain and inflammation. To avoid potential adverse effects, NSAIDs should only be used under the guidance of a doctor and for a limited time.

If the preceding treatments do not relieve the discomfort, your doctor may consider the following:

A walking boot and crutches. These will be utilised for a brief time to rest your foot.

corticosteroid injections. Corticosteroid injections may be used to treat severe pain and inflammation that have not responded to more conservative treatments.

These injections can offer short relief. However, your doctor may limit or prohibit this treatment because steroid injections weaken the plantar fascia and create a tear, resulting in flattening of the foot and chronic pain.

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive treatment that delivers high-energy shock waves to promote plantar fascia tissue recovery.

However, the therapy is not appropriate for everyone.

Botulinum toxin (found in Botox and other products). This treatment uses a protein produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.

Botulinum toxin injections can assist in relaxing the tissue in and around the plantar fascia, reducing pain.

Dry needling involves inserting a sterilised, tiny needle into the skin to stimulate a myofascial trigger point.

Dry needling is a popular treatment for plantar fasciitis; however, its efficacy is debatable.

A meta-analysis found that dry needling lowers pain severity in the short term.

Laser treatment. To relieve plantar fasciitis pain and inflammation, your doctor may consider low-level laser therapy.

A review of research found that low-level laser therapy can relieve heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis for up to three months.

Foot surgery. Although non-surgical treatments almost always relieve plantar fasciitis pain, surgery may be necessary in select cases.

plantar fasciitis

Do You Need Surgery?

Because non-surgical treatment benefits more than 90% of people with plantar fasciitis, surgery is usually employed as a last resort.

After surgery, the majority of patients are satisfied with the results. However, surgery is risky and may cause chronic pain and discomfort.

Surgical Treatments Include:

Gastrocnemius contraction. This surgical procedure entails making a small incision on the inside of the calf (gastrocnemius) and extending the calf muscles using a particular device.

The procedure improves ankle joint mobility and relieves plantar fascia stress. Gastrocnemius recession can cause nerve damage and calf weakness, but the risks are low.

Partial relaxation of the plantar fascia. To alleviate tension in the plantar fascia, make an incision on the underneath or side of the heel.

Nerve injury is a regular consequence of this sort of surgery.

Which shoes are the best for plantar fasciitis?

It is crucial to select the right shoes for plantar fasciosis. Proper footwear can considerably reduce the risk of developing or exacerbating the condition.

Here are some key characteristics to look for in plantar fasciitis footwear:

Architectural support. Good arch support distributes pressure evenly throughout the foot, reducing stress on the plantar fascia.

Cushioning. Wearing shoes with enough arch and forefoot cushioning helps reduce strain on the plantar fascia.

Heel support. Choose shoes with a sturdy heel counter.

When you step and your heel meets the ground, a lot of tension is applied to the fascia, which causes microtrauma (little tears in the tissue).

Soft silicone heel cushions are inexpensive and help to elevate and cushion the heel.

Shock absorption. Choose shoes that have high shock-absorbing qualities, especially at the heel area. Cushioned soles or gel insoles can enhance shock absorption.

Consult with a podiatrist or orthopaedist, who can recommend appropriate shoes based on your foot anatomy and the severity of your plantar fasciitis.

Furthermore, commercially available or custom-made foot supports, often orthoses, can distribute pressure more evenly across your feet.

Stretching exercises for plantar fasciitis.

Research shows that plantar fasciitis-specific stretching exercises can be beneficial as part of the therapeutic process. In one study, stretching the plantar fascia for eight weeks reduced heel discomfort by 52%.

To avoid plantar fasciitis, keep your calf muscles relaxed.

You can execute these stretches three times daily: in the morning, before lunch, and before bedtime.

Calf stretch. Lean forward into a wall, keeping one knee straight and your heel on the floor.

Place the second leg forwards, with the knee bent. Push your hips towards the wall. You should feel a tug on your calf as you stretch.

Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Make sure you stretch both legs.

Stretching the plantar fascia. Sit in a chair and place one foot on the floor. Lift the other leg and place your ankle on your knee in a figure-four stance.

Grab the toes of the elevated foot with your hand. Gently pull your toes back until you feel a stretch in the sole of your foot.

Use your other hand to massage the stretched plantar fascia gently. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat ten repetitions on each foot.

It would be best to never substitute professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified practitioner with any information you see on this website, regardless of its date.

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