Plantar Fasciitis Heel Pain

Plantar Fasciitis, sometimes called Plantars Fasciitus or planter fasciitus is characterized by debilitating heel pain. Plantar fasciitus is a common cause of heel pain with around two million Americans suffering. Plantar fasciitus heel pain is most severe in the morning when the first steps of the day are taken, or the patient has been sitting for a long time.

The tightness and sharp heel pain of Plantars fasciitus can either diminish or increase as the day goes on. Standing for long periods of time or hiking and stair climbing also seem to cause more heel pain. A patient with plantars fasciitus will often be unable to stretch his/her toes toward the shin, this is termed a decreased dorsiflexion of the ankle. There can also be related knee pains and problems in plantar fasciitus patients such as athletes and runners.

Plantar fasciitus is the result of inflammation and strain of a ligament known as the plantar fascia. The Plantar Fascia is a connective tissue spanning from the heel bone towards the toes. Once the plantar fascia is strained, it becomes inflamed, swollen and highly sensitive. There is usually a specific injury or repetitive cause leading to Plantar Fasciitus.

Some of the likely or common causes of strain and inflammation of the plantar fascia resulting in plantar fasciitus are:

  • Lack of flexibility in the Achilles tendons and calf muscles
  • Too much weight bearing on the feet – overweight
  • High arches
  • Flat feet
  • Standing, running, or walking on a hard surface for long periods
  • Pronation – The feet tend to point, or roll inward
  • Bad shoes – either a bad fit, or worn out soles and insoles
  • Sports injury one time, or repetitive use injury

Plantar fasciitus is usually found in middle aged or older people but it can also affect young adults who spend a large amount of time standing like security guards, soldiers or athletes. If your job requires long hours on your feet you may experience plantar fasciitus at one time or another. Black rubber standing mats and proper footwear can help reduce the risk. An effective stretching routine, and standing with good posture can also alleviate the problems of plantar fasciitus. It is also important to not overload your feet by being overweight.

Plantars fasciitus can show up in either one or both feet depending upon the cause.

In short term acute cases, plantar fasciitus is the result of strain and inflammation of the plantar fascia. In long term chronic cases it can display a degeneration of the plantar fascia and is known as plantar fasciosis. It is wise to address the root causes early on and not just treat the pain so long term damage doesn’t take place.

Dr. Shoeta

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