Plantar fasciitis is a common orthopedic condition related to the foot and is often ignored by many. Also known as 'heelpain' it is an ailment excluded only to the bottom surface of the foot,or the sole. It is a persistent injury that affects runners, walkers, hikers, overweight persons, when one wears worn out shoes, persons with tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles, over weight persons and anyone who stands for long hours.
This infamously stubborn condition is found to be quite common amongst individuals in their middle age. It is often confused to be the same as flat feet and heel spurs which is not the case, though they are related. Approximately two million patients are affected by this disease every year, many of whom have no idea that they are suffering from it let alone have information on this nightmare. This is quite unfortunate since in dire cases the condition may become incurable.
However, not all types of foot pain should be assumed to be plantar fasciitis; if the foot pain occurs at night, it might be as a result of arthritis, or even tarsal tunnel syndrome, which is a nerve problem. It is therefore important to note that any foot pain should be taken seriously and diagnosed by a medical practitioner. One has no reason to worry as 90% of plantar fasciitis patients recover in just a few months of conservative treatments.
Plantar fasciitis is a chronic irritation caused by inflammation on the thick flat band of tissue called plantar fascia that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. This band supports the arch of the foot and if strained, it gets weak, swollen and irritated thus causing pain on the heel of the affected foot. This can happen either on one foot or on both feet. Repeated strain on this flat band of tissue can cause tiny tears on the ligament which can lead to a stabbing pain on the heel that occurs mostly in the first steps one makes in the morning. This heel pain normally subsides ones the foot limbers up, but may return while getting up from a sitting position or after a long period of standing. In relation to the latter, the disease often demonstrates more degenerative changes than inflammatory changes and is therefore termed plantar fasciosis.
Clinical examinations to ascertain this condition considers a patients' medical history, physical activity, foot pain symptoms. Other than the morning heel pains, and an X-ray of ones foot may also be taken to detect any symptoms.
No single treatment solves this problem but a number of things can be done to make the foot feel better, one of them being rest. Cutting back on activities that make ones feet hurt, walking for long miles or running on hard surfaces helps ease the strain on the heel. Putting ice one the heel is also another remedy. One sholud hold a cloth covered ice pack for about twenty minutes, four times a day or after an activity. Alternatively, ice massage can be done by rolling a frozen water filled paper on the hurting heel for five to seven minutes and if done regularly, it can help reduce pain and inflammation on the hurting heel. Taking a prescribed pain reliever such as aspirin helps reduce swelling and pain. Simple excercises that are usually taken lightly by many also hold a lot of weight as far as heel pain treatment is concern. Doing stretches such as toe stretches, calf stretches and towel stretches, several times a day especially first thing in the morning helps treat plantar fasciitis. High impact exercises such as cycling and swimming can be swapped with low impact ones such as jogging until the pain gradually improves. If the pain ecomes servere one is advised to stay off their feet for several days till the pain subsides. Shoes worn should have a cushioned sole and good arch support. Orthotics such as heel caps and shoe insertS can also be used on both legs, even if only one is hurting.
To prevent heel pain, losing weight by regular exercising and having a balanced diet can be beneficial to the feet. Any foot wear worn should also be appropriate i.e of the right size and not worn out either. Currently, there are clinics that provide online information on this condition including provision of news letters, consultations and even twenty four hour medical support. The information is out there hence they is no need to suffer any more.
The ankle and the foot sole takes a good beating whenever we walk, run or jog long distances. If you suffer from sore feet for any such reason, feel free to contact us!
Foot Council Health Clinic, 4 Broad Street, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR1 3LH.
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