What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Do you have pain in your heel and wonder whether plantar fasciitis is to blame?

Lots of people told me that my heel pain was plantar fasciitis. This got me asking: “What is plantar fasciitis” and how do I know if I may have it?

I’ve done a ton of research since then, which I’m going to share with you in this post. Hopefully, you can then see whether this is also a condition that affects you after reading it!

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

If you’re not familiar with this type of foot pain, you’re no doubt wondering: what is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a problem that affects the plantar fascia in the feet. This is an area of thick tissue that runs between the toes and the heels.

The plantar fascia supports the muscles in the feet and the foot arch. This can cause issues if there are problems in this area.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia tear.

It’s thought that plantar fasciitis could be a degenerative condition. Inflammation is another possible cause.

Having a tight Achilles tendon can also put a strain on the plantar fascia.
Some scenarios can make plantar fasciitis more likely to happen. These include:

  • Being active in long distance running on a regular basis
  • Getting older (plantar fasciitis often affects people aged between 45 and 64)
  • Having flat feet or high arches
  • Pregnancy, which can put more pressure on your feet
  • Being overweight, which also adds extra pressure for the feet
  • Being on your feet throughout the day because of your job (for example)
  • Shoes that are not supportive for your feet

What Are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis has some obvious symptoms that can set it apart from other types of heel pain.

You’ll usually feel more pain when you first get up in the morning. At its worst, this can be so bad that you hobble or limp for a while.

The pain gets better once you’re up and about but can be worse after exercising. Sitting or standing for a while can also make the pain more of a problem.

This YouTube video explains a few reasons you may have plantar fasciitis:

What Are the Treatment Options?

Here’s the good news …

Up to 90% of people with plantar fasciitis recover with no need for surgery.

And there’s more ….

Studies say that around 80% of people don’t experience recurring pain afterward. It can take 6 months or longer to get to this point but self-help measures can be all you need.

So, what are your treatment options for plantar fasciitis?

Some of the things you can do at home to reduce pain and inflammation include:

  • Resting the affected foot or feet as much as you can. Spending less time on your feet gives you more chance to recover quicker.
  • Taking Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medications can relieve pain and inflammation. This is usually only a short-term treatment though.
  • Icing the affected heel(s) several times per day can reduce pain and discomfort.
  • Night splints can help to stretch the calf muscle and foot arch while you sleep. This can reduce pain levels when you first get up in the morning.
  • Custom made soft orthotics to absorb more shock when you walk.

Exercises designed to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon are good treatments. An easy stretch is to lean against a wall, with your heels on the ground and with straight knees.

This YouTube video gives some inspiration for more stretches:

If self-help treatments aren’t effective enough, you may need to look at other options.

● Steroid injections can help but are often not the first line of treatment. There can be risks, including infection, ruptures and atrophy of the skin and muscle.

● Electrical Shock Wave Therapy is a new treatment option. It has shown some promise in one study.

● Surgery is generally a last resort if other treatments aren’t working after around 6 months to a year.

How Can I Prevent Plantar Fasciitis?

A few of the steps you can take to protect against plantar fasciitis include:

● Don’t walk barefoot on hard floors as this can stretch the plantar fascia.

Wear supportive shoes that encourage an arch and have some heel padding.

● Maintaining a healthy weight so your feet don’t have to take too much pressure. If you’re currently overweight, losing weight is a good move to prevent plantar fasciitis.

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed reading this guide and have a very good idea of “what is plantar fasciitis” now!

A few takeaways to keep in mind for the future:

● Your lifestyle and job can mean you’re more likely to have plantar fasciitis. Factors can include your weight, whether you’re on your feet a lot and hobbies such as long distance running.

● Your choice of footwear can make plantar fasciitis more likely and can help treat and prevent it too.

● There are lots of self-help treatments for plantar fasciitis and these can be very effective.

Please feel free to share the article so more people can learn from it too.

Got any questions about plantar fasciitis? Ask away in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

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