Plantar fascia is the fibrous tissue that runs in the bottom of the foot from the heel bone to the toes. This ligament absorbs shock while walking and supports the arch in your foot. But repeated stress to the heel can cause small tears in the tissue, resulting in inflammation which is called plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fascia is the fibrous tissue that runs in the bottom of the foot from the heel bone to the toes. This ligament absorbs shock while walking and supports the arch in your foot. But repeated stress to the heel can cause small tears in the tissue, resulting in inflammation which is called plantar fasciitis. The stress to the heel can be caused due to repeated force from sports that involves running and jumping, wearing high heels, work that requires continuous standing or walking. It is more common in people who are overweight, and people with flat feet.
Plantar fasciitis usually causes stabbing pain as soon as your feet hit the floor in the mornings. The pain reduces ones you start walking, but often returns if you strain your heel a lot.
The symptoms are:
The pain and tenderness are experienced at the sole and heel. The pain is worse in the morning when you stand up after sitting for long, and after exercising. The pain makes it difficult for you to walk or run, and can sometimes make your feet feel warm and swollen.
Overuse of the foot even after developing signs of plantar fasciitis can cause the plantar fascia to rupture, which may result in local swelling, acute sole pain, and clicking or snapping sound.
Repetitive strain injury to the fascia of the sole causes plantar fasciitis. This strain injury can be caused by:
Excessive walking or running.
Walking barefoot on hard surfaces.
Shock from jumping and landing on your feet.
Long periods of standing.
Continuous use of high-heeled shoes.
Inward rolling of the foot while walking or running.
Tight Achilles tendon.
Heel spurs - Bony outgrowth near the heel where the ligament attaches.
Some other conditions that can cause foot and heel pain are osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, and heel pad syndrome.
The possible risk factors for developing this condition are:
Wearing worn-out shoes with thin soles.
Very high-arched feet.
Wearing high-heeled shoes.
Limb length discrepancy.
Achilles tendon tightness.
If left untreated, you might develop chronic heel pain, which can change the way you walk. This may put abnormal loading at the ankle, knee, and hip joint and later on can cause pain in these joints too.
In some cases, the plantar fascia can become irritated and thick and result in chronic foot pain called plantar fasciosis.
After physically examining you, the doctor will make sure that some other foot problem is not the cause of pain. The doctor may press at your heel which may replicate your kind of pain and is diagnostic.
The doctor will then check your reflexes, muscle tone, sense of touch, coordination and balance, to evaluate your muscle strength and nerve health. If needed, the doctor might suggest getting an X-ray or an MRI scan to rule out any fracture or other pathology that might cause heel pain. Perse, to diagnose plantar fasciitis, no investigation is needed. If X-ray of the heel is done, it can show bone spur which is formed as a result of chronic inflammation.
The following are the treatment options:
Painkillers like Ibuprofen and Naproxen sodium.
Steroid or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections at the tender point.
Apply ice packs for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.
Lose weight to reduce stress on the foot.
Avoid wearing high heels.
Avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces.
Wear shoes with moderate heels and good shock absorbent properties.
Avoid sports that require walking and jogging and switch to swimming or cycling.
Do plantar fascia stretching exercises.
Physiotherapy - a physiotherapist will teach you strengthening and stretching exercises to stabilize your ankle and heel.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy or ultrasonic or laser therapy.
Night splints - it is a splint that has to be worn in the night while sleeping. It stretches the calf and arch of the feet and holds the plantar and Achilles tendon in an extended position.
Orthotics - it is the use of shoe inserts to distribute force evenly to your feet.
Surgery is seldom required in this condition.
Plantar fasciotomy - surgery is done to detach the plantar fascia from the bone present in the heel.
Tenex procedure - It is a minimally-invasive procedure that removes scar tissue from the plantar fascia.
This condition usually resolves with the treatment options that are mentioned above, so the prognosis is good. But if the condition causes complication like plantar fasciosis, then it has to be managed differently.
Some of the following lifestyle changes can prevent plantar fasciitis:
Maintain a healthy weight.
Keep replacing your sports shoes and wear shoes with good support.
Wear supportive footwear even at home.
Avoid high-impact activities.
Do leg and foot stretches.
Most cases of plantar fasciitis improve with home remedies and physical therapy, but it might take a few months. If the pain is getting worse even after trying home remedies, consult an orthopedician online.
For plantar fasciitis to heal, it might take about six to twelve months. It is essential to give rest to your foot if there is any inflammation present. Massage your foot regularly. This can cause a relaxed feeling to your foot. Painkillers such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen sodium can be given to relieve pain.
Below are the quick relief methods to treat plantar fasciitis at home:
- Wear supportive shoes.
- Apply lavender essential oil.
- Wear a night splint.
- Use orthotics. This is used to correct the biomechanical foot problems.
- Replace old athletic shoes.
- Lose Weight.
- Apply ice.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
The time required for recovery might vary from person to person. The minimum duration required for recovery is six months, and the maximum period required for recovery is eighteen months. The consistency of the treatment is essential. This condition has high recovery rates.
A permanent cure is possible, but since it can occur as an occupational hazard, there is a problem of recurrence. After the complete cure is achieved, if the person continues to run or perform athletic activities, then a continuous exposure stimulates the recurrence of plantar fasciitis.
Some of the best exercise recommended by health care provider for plantar fasciitis are,
- Toe curls with the towel.
- Toe extension.
- Standing calf stretch.
- Towel stretch.
- Calf stretches on a step.
- Ice massage arch roll.
The best shoes for plantar fasciitis are the ones that have soft soles. There are many brands offering quality shoes to relieve the pain from plantar fasciitis. You should ask your doctor to recommend a few shoes that will be best suited for you.
It is not possible to cure plantar fasciitis in one week. But if we know the exact cause of the condition, we can refrain from it. If it is due to your occupation, then it is necessary to take a break from your work if it is feasible. If plantar fasciitis has occurred due to the age factor, then we cannot expect a cure soon.
The usual common cause of plantar fasciitis is due to repetitive strain injury to the ligament of the foot's sole. This strain injury is induced from excessive walking or running, jumping injury from landing, and inadequate footgear.
Most of the people who experience plantar fasciitis, the actual cause does not hurt them. The real pain of plantar fasciitis occurs after when the band of tissue starts to swell from the damage. This swelling creates pressure and tenderness in the foot, which becomes intolerant to additional pressure.
Plantar fasciitis condition should be treated as soon as possible. If it is not treated, then it leads to other chronic conditions such as knee, spine, and hip problems. These kinds of pain will interrupt the walking pattern of the individual. An abnormal walking pattern might bring its own health issues.
Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are debilitating conditions for those who are enjoying fitness, such as running or walking. Walking with pain can lead to severe pain, which requires a month for recovery. The person can slowly build up their running or walking time once the pain is rectified.
Deep tissue massage is the recommended technique to relieve pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Deep tissue massage is especially useful because it loosens the ligaments, fascia, and tendons that have become painfully tight overtime, relaxing them back into their healthy posture.
Plantar fasciitis usually induces a stabbing pain near the heel at the bottom of your foot. Severe pain can be experienced with the first few steps after awakening. This pain is also triggered due to getting up after sitting, standing for a longer duration, or after exercise.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis is a pain in the bottom of the foot near the center or front of the heel bone. Severe pain will be noticed in the morning after first wake up or first-step pain. This pain is also triggered due to getting up after sitting, standing for a longer duration, or after exercise.
The recovery duration is shorter. After plantar fasciitis surgery, patients can walk normally after 3 to 6 weeks. In both cases, full recovery and the return to high-impact activities and exercises like jumping or running may take around three months. Out of which, endoscopic surgery has a faster recovery rate.
Foods rich in magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM present in many fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains) significantly reduce the impacts of plantar fasciitis. Foods rich in processed sugars, processed flour, processed meat, and white bread must be avoided.
The pain experienced by children might be different than adults. The children tend to have more tender feet. This might make them experience more pain for a minimal stimulus. Also, the heel bone called the calcaneus would not have been fully developed in these patients; the pain experienced by them will be high.
Peppermint, Frankincense, grapeseed oil, and lemongrass oil are popular and essential oils for treating plantar fasciitis. You should seek help from doctors if you are suffering from plantar fasciitis because some foods can alleviate the pain.
Severe pain caused by plantar fasciitis is experienced, especially in the morning. After one whole night of healing and rest, more pain can be felt if pressure is applied on the inflamed part of the foot. However, after some time, this pain will reduce gradually. But, if the pain is not decreasing after many days and if it is still very painful, then we can conclude that the plantar fasciitis has worsened.
While sleeping, elevate the feet at six to twelve inches by placing a standard pillow under the leg. This action will reduce swelling, improve blood circulation, and reduce inflammation from plantar fasciitis.
Compression socks can act as a pain reliever while sleeping and also for those with the first few painful steps in the morning. Compression socks gently stretch the plantar fascia, thus leading to reduced pain. These types of socks are comfortable to wear for the whole day.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs due to the presence of several other conditions. The causes for it can be multifactorial. So, it is difficult to conclude whether it works well with heat treatment or cold treatment. It depends on the individual. Some patients respond well for heat treatment, while others respond well for cold treatment.
Topical creams have fewer side effects than oral medications. Topical ointments containing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are very helpful. The topical agents are better because they get easily absorbed in the skin. So, it is known to show better results. Oral medications take a little longer to act.
The braces for plantar fasciitis work as a splint. It helps to keep your leg at 90-degree. This can help you maintain a constant stretch when you are sleeping. This constant stretch will help you heal from plantar fasciitis. They are little bulk in nature, but they are highly beneficial. After the pain is relieved, you can stop using them.
The heel spurs will have a pain that is very sharp in the morning, and that becomes dull in the afternoon and evening hours. There will be inflammation seen on the heels. A spur can occur like a small protrusion. In plantar fasciitis, the pain will be seen mostly after an exercise session.
Last reviewed at:
08 Jun 2019 - 4 min read
Query: Hi doctor, My mother, who is 50, is suffering from plantar fasciitis. She lives in a remote area and so, regular physical and ESWT therapy is not feasible. I am planning to buy a portable ESWT device. Will this be helpful and feasible to use them at home without any assistance? Is there any side e... Read Full »
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