What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis or jogger’s heel is a condition affecting the plantar fascia, the long ligament at the bottom of the foot which connects the heel and the front part of the feet through the arch. The plantar fascia is the reason behind the amazing stress absorption quality of the heels on which the weight of the whole body rests. Overuse, too much activity, or placing too much weight on the heel by being overweight could cause tears in this tissue in the heel portion. This causes pain and inflammation.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the major causes of heel pain, with around 2 million patients being treated for this condition annually. Though heel pain occurs because of other causes too, plantar fasciitis is primarily felt as pain in the heel.
What Are the Causes?
Plantar fascia could develop tears because of overuse or excessive burden being placed on it when the person is obese or overweight. It could also occur if you stand, walk or run for long periods on time on surfaces that are hard or by using footwear with stiff soles. Wearing worn out or ill-fitting shoes also contribute to the condition. Natural factors such as your foot arch being too high or your calf muscles being too tight and posing difficulty in flexing your foot could also place excessive strain on the plantar fasciitis.
What Are the Treatment Options?
As with many such tissue and ligament issues, treatment involves surgical as well as non-surgical approaches. However, the non-surgical approach is preferred since it is safe and can produce gradual but sure relief in most cases.
Non-surgical Treatment Options
Simple non-invasive treatments can actually help in over 90% of the cases. The effects of such treatment can be felt in just 10 months.
- Adequate resting of the heel by stopping or at least reducing activities that could put strain on it could help bring down the pain and discomfort. Running, step aerobics and other such athletic activities involving feet banging on hard surfaces would have to be stopped for a few weeks. Rolling the affected foot over ice or cold water for around 20 minutes for up to 4 times a day could also be really effective.
- Exercises such as calf stretches, towel stretches and toe stretches performed multiple times a day particularly in the morning soon after waking can provide relief.
- The use of shoes with extra cushioning and great arch support is highly recommended. Custom soft shoe inserts or orthotics can help reduce microtrauma in the plantar fascia by bringing down the risk of tiny tears appearing in the ligament as a result of tension caused when the heel hits the ground. Silicone heel pads are inexpensive options to cushion your heel.
- Physical therapy and administration of NSAIDs such as naproxen or ibuprofen can also help reduce the inflammation and pain. These medications must be prescribed by the doctor though, particularly if you are taking them for over a month.
Surgical Treatment Options
Surgical procedures include gastrocnemius recession and plantar fascia release. But these are only sought out if non-surgical treatment has failed after 12 months. Both these procedures can be performed through an open incision or by using an endoscope.
Treatment at a Multi-specialty Healthcare Center
With an advanced and multi-specialty physical therapy and rehabilitation center taking care of your needs, you can be assured of safe and simple non-surgical treatment options for plantar fasciitis.