Plantar fasciitis is a common chronic pain condition that produces a stabbing pain near the heel of your feet. Most common in runners, plantar fasciitis is also found among the obese who wear shoes without proper support. The intense pain that accompanies this condition is most often experienced after a workout or immediately after waking, but may also appear following long periods of standing.
Causes of plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is caused by minute tears in the plantar fascia, the connective tissue in the arches of your feet. Long-term stress on this tissue through exercise or excessive body weight can produce these injuries. Over time, these injuries may produce inflammation and intense discomfort.
Who is susceptible
There are many reasons why some people are prone to plantar fasciitis. This condition is most often seen among people aged 40 to 60, or who engage in high-impact activities like running, jumping, or ballroom dancing. People with flat feet, high arches or an abnormal walking motion are at a higher risk, as well as people in occupations that must spend long periods standing or walking. Obesity is also an important risk factor.
Diagnosis of plantar fasciitis
If you suspect you have plantar fasciitis, then your physician will likely only conduct a physical examination to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor will look for areas of tenderness in your feet, the hallmarks of plantar fasciitis and may ask about your personal history. X-ray or MRI imaging is usually unnecessary to make a diagnosis but may be ordered to eliminate the possibility of other issues like a stress fracture or nerve impingement.
Although plantar fasciitis can be an uncomfortable chronic pain condition, there are many treatment options. If you are experiencing initial symptoms, then the most recommended treatments are rest and application of ice to the problem areas. Minor physical discomfort and inflammation may be treated with over-the-counter medications like Advil or Aleve.
Long-term strategies for plantar fasciitis include stretching, strengthening your plantar fascia and losing weight. Stretching muscles in your lower leg and feet will help ease unnecessary strain on the plantar fascia. More vigorous exercises for weight loss should avoid impacts on the feet and may include swimming, biking or rowing. Finally, you may wish to consult with a podiatrist to determine what kind of footwear will provide the support you need.
For more severe chronic pain, you may want to consider a steroid injection. Steroids provide relief from inflammation and an injection may reduce the pain for up to a month. Another treatment option is shock-wave therapy which applies sound waves to the damaged tissue. This therapy will promote blood flow to the plantar fascia and speed healing.
In the most extreme cases of plantar fasciitis where the chronic pain continues for nine to 12 months and is resistant to conventional therapies, surgery is a final option. During the procedure, the surgeon will cut part of the ligament, reducing some of the strain on it. It may take from six to ten weeks to regain full mobility after the procedure.
If you or someone you know thinks they might be suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, contact the pain relief experts at Colorado Pain Care for diagnosis and treatment options.
Article written by: Dr. Robert Moghim – CEO/Founder Colorado Pain Care
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