Heel pain and foot arch pain is very common in today’s population. This article will help to describe the condition and give recommendations for preventing plantar fasciitis. This condition is one of the most common complaints of the lower body. The pain associated with this condition can cause a very active person to become immobile.
Plantar fasciitis is sometimes used as a catchall term to describe pain in the arch or heel. It can also be used to describe inflammation to the plantar fascia or pain in the ball of the foot. In order to start the process of preventing this pain, you need to understand the anatomy.
The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. The purpose of the plantar fascia is to assist in maintaining stability of the foot and to support the longitudinal arch of the foot during weight bearing. The band of tissue spans from the heel to the base of each of the five toes. Anatomy Video
When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed it becomes very painful to put pressure through the arch of the foot and even walk. Pain is typically present over the heel bone with standing and walking. The most classic symptom of this condition is a stabbing pain in the morning with the first few steps of the day. Symptoms can also be experienced with bending the toes backwards towards the top of the foot. Walking barefoot or on hard surfaces is also typically quite painful.
There are many causes of plantar fasciitis including excessive pronation of the foot, inflexibility of the arch, and tightness of the calf muscle. People who have very flat feet can also be at risk for developing this condition as the tissue is overly stretched.
· Footwear or Shoes: Wearing shoes without sufficient arch support, running with a lengthened stride, and running on soft surfaces are also potential causes of PF.
.Work: Occupations which require you to stand or walk on your feet for extended period of time. Especially if the surface is concrete.
· Poor Biomechanics: Improper running form can contribute to PF among other foot conditions. Read about how barefoot running shoes help change your running mechanics and avoid injury.
.Age: PF is most common with active individuals between the ages of 35-60.
· Failure to prepare for a workout: The simple things sometimes make the biggest difference. Read here on how to properly prepare yourself for a workout.
· Long distance running: Running long distances can sometimes lead to plantar fasciitis in athletes. Learn about some alternative exercises to running here.
.Overweight: Obesity or carrying excessive pounds will cause more stress on the PF.
The diagnosis is often a clinical diagnosis with it being based on the patient’s symptoms and a clinical exam. Imaging studies such as radiographs (X-Rays) may be done to evaluate for the presence of a heel spur or to rule out any fractures. With persistent cases, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be indicated to evaluate the extent of the injury or to evaluate for a rupture or tear. An early diagnosis by a physician is a key component to prevent the symptoms from getting worse.
Custom Orthotics, done at JOI Rehabilitation can help cushion the heel and provide arch support to help alleviate painful symptoms with standing and walking. Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute also offers medical laser which can help jumpstart the healing process and reduce inflammation. Patients having this treatment often report an immediate reduction in symptoms in the arch.
The Graston Technique offered by our specifically trained clinicians can help in loosening the plantar fascia and other restricted muscles that support the foot and is often very effective at alleviating symptoms.
Class IV Laser treatments have also been effective in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. JOI Rehab has 3 class IV lasers in the Jacksonville Area.
A Strassburg Sock and/or night splint are an example of a Plantar Fasciitis home remedy that can be worn to help reduce pain associated with PF while you are sleeping. These devises slowly stretch the foot during sleep. The acronym RICE is a treatment method that can be done at home to aid in acute pain relief. This includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. Rolling the arch of the foot on a frozen water bottle is an easy and effective way to stretch the fascia and to ice the foot. A physician may also prescribe medications to reduce the inflammation of the PF.
Walk or run on flat surfaces with proper fitting running shoes. Running specific retailers can help to fit you in the proper type of shoe and arch support for your specific needs. Using your toes to scrunch a towel can strengthen the muscles responsible for supporting your arch of the foot. Maintaining good calf flexibility is also helpful at preventing PF. Slowly increasing one’s activity level rather than making large jumps in training volume also helps in preventing plantar fasciitis. Avoiding running on uneven surfaces is also key factor in prevention.
If you think that you have plantar fasciitis, Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute can help.