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Plantar Fasciitis-Pain under the Heels

The foot has a band of tissue that is called the plantar fascia which basically connects the heel to the toes. When this band of tissue gets painful and swollen, then you are probably suffering from the condition called plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot conditions, and it may initially present itself as a sharp pain as you attempt to put weight on your foot in the morning. As the morning progresses you might realise the pain getting less and less. Strenuous periods of walking, standing or working while on your feet will however promptly trigger back this pain.

How to Diagnose Plantar Fasciitis

Your doctor will diagnose plantar fasciitis or its absence by carrying out a physical exam on your feet. He or she will need to locate where exactly the pain or discomfort the pain is originating from. Factors like swelling and redness are signs your doctor will be on the lookout for as they are characteristic of plantar fasciitis.

Flexing your foot and pointing your toe can also help your doctor diagnose plantar fasciitis. He or she will be looking to see if the pain gets better or worse as you move our foot and toes.

The final method of diagnosing plantar fasciitis is an x-ray or MRI. This is the ultimate test to help the doctor rule out any other foot conditions that present in a similar manner. Sometimes you may need an x-ray diagnosis for heel spurs, especially in cases of chronic pain. 

Stages of Plantar Fasciitis

Stage 1
   Acute but reversible inflammation. Minor pain that increases after lengthy periods of inactivity. Basic anti-inflammatory treatment and exercise resolves pain.
Stage 2
  Acute pain both at rest and during activity. Angiofibroblastic invasion. Heel spur may develop. Basic treatments may not bring as much relief.
Stage 3
  Intense pain as in stage 2. Functionality becomes very limited. The plantar fascia may rapture. Extensive AF invasion

Until late in the year 2014 there had been no real research into plantar fasciitis. Whatever research carried out had not yielded meaningful results that could conclusively and authoritatively summarise cause, effect and propos treatment or plantar fasciitis.

New research and studies shows a possible relationship between plantar fasciitis and tendinopathy. Tendinopathy describes pain that arises at the tendons due to overuse. Published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, the research by Michael Rathleff (qualified in physiotherapy and occupational therapy) et al explores the similarities between these two conditions and proposes high load strength training as a treatment option since it has been effective for tendinopathy.

Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis

If there is a type of pain that you totally ant to steer clear of it the discomfort that comes with plantar fasciitis. It can be debilitating and beyond annoying always persisting at the back of your heel. Well here are a few tips on how you can prevent this pain from ever happening in the first place.

  

Wear properly fitting shoes with the right arch

Keep fit. Being overweight is a definite trigger for plantar fasciitis

Avoid overuse of your feet for example standing for too long or training hardcore for too long

Avoid walking barefoot especially on sand for long periods of time

Spoil yourself with a foot massage every once in a while

Do not ignore any type of pain you feel on your feet

Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

Home Treatment Options

Common pain medication can be used to reduce the inflammation and discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis.

You can also use an ice pack by holding it over the painful area for 20 minutes up to 4 times a day. Do gentle stretching exercises that do not put strain on your heel.

Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

Therapies for plantar fasciitis include foot taping, using night splints, orthotics and physical therapy done by a professional. These will facilitate stretching as you sleep, stabilize the area around the ankle and help distribute pressure evenly in your foot.

Other Options

If the above options fail you might have to try more invasive methods such as surgery. This may result in weakening of the arch but will relieve you of the intense pain.

Steroid injections provide temporary relief although repeated use is no recommended at all due to the horrible long term effects. They can cause the fat pad on the heel to shrink and irreparably damage the plantar fascia.

The other option for treatment is shock-wave therapy. Sound waves are directed in the affected area as this stimulates healing. Although not consistently effective, this method has worked for some patients when all else fails. 

It is advisable to prevent plantar fasciitis from occurring in the first place. Observe great foot health and avoid pushing your feet beyond their limit. You can click here for more Plantar Fasciitis tips & advice.

 

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