What is Plantar Fasciitis; it is also known as Policeman's Heel, Heel Pain and Pain in the Arch of the foot. Pain in the heel though, may also be due to other causes, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation, or, rarely, a cyst.
Due to being several possible causes, it is important to have any heel pains properly diagnosed. Booking an appointment with a Foot Health Practitioner can help with the diagnosis and prognosis and treatment.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the big toe into the heel area. When pain and problems occur, it is the fascia that first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain.
There are various causes to Plantar Fasciitis; the most common cause of relates to the faulty structure of the foot ie; people who have problems with their arches with either overly flat or high-arched feet, are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis.
Wearing very flat footwear with no arch support on hard flat surfaces, puts abnormal strain on the plantar fascia thus leading to plantar fasciitis. This is very common with people working in a job that requires long hours on their feet all day or night. Also overweight people may also contribute to plantar fasciitis.
Typical symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis are:
•Pain on the bottom of the heel
•Pain in the arch of the foot
•Pain that is usually worse upon awakening and taking those first few steps in the morning
•Pain after long periods of walking or standing all day/night
•Pain that increases over a period of months
When asked hen the pain is at its worst, they will express when they first get up in the morning or after they’ve been sitting for long periods of time. After a few minutes of walking the pain decreases, because walking stretches the fascia. For some people the pain subsides but returns after spending long periods of time on their feet.
To obtain a diagnosis, the patient needs to have a full foot examination of their feet to see how high/low their arches are: discuss the type of pain they are suffering and when the pain is at it worst. This is to overall any other problems that may be causing the pain if it isn't Plantar Fasciitis.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis begins with first-line strategies, which you can begin at home:
•Stretching exercises. Exercises that stretch out the calf muscles help ease pain and assist with recovery.
•Avoid going barefoot. When you walk without shoes, you put undue strain and stress on your plantar fascia.
•Ice. Putting an ice pack on your heel for 20 minutes several times a day helps reduce inflammation. Place a thin towel between the ice and your heel; do not apply ice directly to the skin.
•Limit activities. Cut down on extended physical activities to give your heel a rest.
•Shoe modifications. Wearing supportive shoes that have good arch support and a slightly raised heel reduces stress on the plantar fascia.
•Medications. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Ibruprofen, may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation; ***Diabetics: do not take Ibuprofen***
If you are still suffering with pain in your feet after several weeks, book an appointment to see your Foot Health Practitioner who may try one or more of these treatment approaches:
•Orthotic devices that fit into your shoe to help correct the underlying structural abnormalities causing the plantar fasciitis.
•Exercises and other physical therapy measures may be used to help provide relief.
•Padding in your footwear to relieve an pains.
No matter what advise you are given for plantar fasciitis, any underlying causes or pain that led to this condition may remain unless any treatments are offered. Therefore, you will need to either wear supportive shoes, doing stretching exercises or having orthotic devices in all your footwear; these will need to be a long-term treatment for plantar fasciitis.
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