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Plantar Fasciitis – Heel Pain

One of the most painful problems in the foot is heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of foot pain in adults.

Definition

The term Plantarfasciitis describes a condition in which the plantar fascia, a ligament‐like band that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot, becomes damaged, inflamed and painful. Plantar fasciitis can afflict one or both feet.

 

Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis often leads to tenderness on the inside portion of the heel where the heel and arch meet. Most people experience pain in the heel with their first steps in the morning, after getting out of bed. It is presented by a sharp stabbing pain at the bottom or front of the heel bone. The pain varies in severity. In most cases, heel pain is more severe following periods of inactivity (e.g. early in the morning or after sitting for a long period). This is because your ligaments will have cooled down during rest, and cool ligaments do not stretch well.

 

Causes

Whilst there are many causes for Plantar Fasciitis, it is usually the result of faulty biomechanics (abnormalities in the way we walk). This can place too much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues that are attached to it. Other causes may include; unaccustomed standing, particularly on a hard surface, walking or running, wearing shoes with no arch support or that have poor cushioning, or being significantly overweight. Changed employment conditions or participation in a new sport are often causes of heel pain. Systemic diseases such as arthritis and diabetes can also contribute to heel pain.

 

Treatment

The podiatrist will assess your foot and identify the cause of the plantar fascial pain. As plantar fasciitis is predominantly caused by over pronation of the feet, a treatment plan to control this motion will be implemented. This may include strapping of the foot to help support the arch, modifying footwear/padding shoes and orthotic therapy. Your podiatrist will also be able to give you a treatment regimen that will include muscle and strengthening exercises that will be beneficial in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. If left untreated, plantar fasciitis can become a chronic and debilitating ailment that may eventually require cortisone injections or surgery.

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