Plantar Fasciitis is the Latin term for "inflammation of the plantar fascia". The plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous ligament that runs under the foot from the heel bone to the toes. It forms the
arch of the foot and functions as our natural shock-absorbing mechanism. Unlike muscle tissue, the plantar fascia is not very elastic and therefore is very limited in its capacity to stretch or
elongate. Herein lies the problem, when too much traction is placed on the plantar fascia (for various reasons) micro-tearing will occur, resulting in irritation, inflammation and pain. Plantar
Fasciitis usually causes pain under the heel. However some people may experience pain under the arch of the foot. Both heel pain and arch discomfort are related to Plantar Fasciitis, with heel pain
being far more common than arch pain.
Because the plantar fascia supports your foot and gets used every time you take a step, it has to absorb a large amount of stress and weight. If too much pressure is put on the plantar fascia, the
fibers can become damaged or start to tear. The body responds by causing inflammation in the affected area. This is what causes the pain and stiffness of plantar fasciitis. Things that can increase
the risk of plantar fasciitis include tight calf muscles. Tight calves make it harder to flex your foot, and this puts more stress on the plantar fascia. Weight. Carrying a few extra pounds puts
added pressure on your feet every time you take a step. Activities that put a lot of stress on the feet. This includes things like running, hiking, dancing, and aerobics. Bad shoes. Footwear that
doesn't give your foot the support it needs increases your risk of plantar fasciitis. You'll want to ditch any shoes that have thin soles or inadequate arch support, or ones that don't fit your feet
properly. Routinely wearing high heels can also cause your Achilles tendon to contract over time, making it harder to flex your foot. Jobs that involve a lot of standing or walking on hard surfaces.
Jobs that keep you on your feet all day, like waiting tables or working in a store, can cause damage to your plantar fascia. High arches, flat feet, or other foot problems. The shape of your foot can
affect the way your weight is distributed on your feet when you stand. If weight distribution is a bit off, it can add to a person's risk of plantar fasciitis. How someone walks can increase the
stress on certain parts of the foot too.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain in the heel of the foot. Some people complain of a sharp stabbing pain especially with walking. Others describe the pain as a dull ache after prolonged
standing. The pain of plantar fasciitis is often worst in the morning or following activity.
The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This may show tenderness on the bottom of your foot, flat feet or high arches, mild foot swelling or redness, stiffness or tightness of the arch
in the bottom of your foot. X-rays may be taken to rule out other problems.
Non Surgical Treatment
Rest the foot as much as you can, especially during the beginning of the treatment. Try to avoid unnecessary foot activity like running, or excess standing. Instead, perform exercises that do not put
stress on the injured foot, like bicycling or swimming. Apply ice to the painful area a few times a day to reduce inflammation. Try rolling the arch of the foot over a tennis ball or a baseball. A
good treatment is rolling the arch of the foot over a frozen soft drink can. This exercise cools and stretches the affected area. You can use over-the-counter pain relievers (ibuprofen, naproxen) to
reduce pain and inflammation. Use an over-the-counter arch support or heel support. Avoid walking barefoot, because it may add stress on the plantar fascia. Exercise your feet to make the muscles,
ligaments, tendons and other parts stronger. Stronger foot muscles give better support to the plantar fascia preventing it from another injury. Stretching the foot, the plantar fascia and the calf
muscles a few times a day is an essential part of treatment and prevention.
Plantar fasciotomy is often considered after conservative treatment has failed to resolve the issue after six months and is viewed as a last resort. Minimally invasive and endoscopic approaches to
plantar fasciotomy exist but require a specialist who is familiar with certain equipment. Heel spur removal during plantar fasciotomy has not been found to improve the surgical outcome. Plantar heel
pain may occur for multiple reasons and release of the lateral plantar nerve branch may be performed alongside the plantar fasciotomy in select cases. Possible complications of plantar fasciotomy
include nerve injury, instability of the medial longitudinal arch of the foot, fracture of the calcaneus, prolonged recovery time, infection, rupture of the plantar fascia, and failure to improve the
pain. Coblation (TOPAZ) surgery has recently been proposed as alternative surgical approaches for the treatment of recalcitrant plantar fasciitis.
Preventing plantar fasciitis is crucial. There are many choices to help prevent the occurrence of this condition, and keep it from returning. One of the most important is maintaining a healthy weight
in order to reduce tension on the plantar fascia. In addition, shoes are very important, and should fit well and provide ample cushioning and support throughout the heel, arch, and ball of the foot
so that weight is distributed evenly throughout the foot. Try to avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces and replace old shoes before they wear out, especially shoes that you run or exercise in. When
exercising, start off slow and ease into new routines to prevent sudden or excessive stress on tissue. Lastly, keep your calf muscles and the tissue of your feet stretched. Greater flexibility in the
tissue makes them less susceptible to damage.