Plantar fasciitis is a disorder that results in pain in the heel and the bottom of the foot, particularly when taking the first steps of the day or after a period of rest. The patient will also experience pain when bending the foot and toes up to the shin . The causes have not been definitively established. However, the commonly recognized risk factors are spending prolonged periods standing, exercise and being overweight. Plantar fasciitis treatment includes rest, use of night splints and various exercises to stretch the plantar fascia at the bottom of the foot.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of fibrous connective tissue that extends across the bottom of the foot. Recent studies have concluded that plantar fasciitis is not actually due to inflammation. Instead, it may actually be a noninflammatory structural breakdown of the plantar fascia. Researchers believe that this structural breakdown is the result of repetitive microtrauma (small tears) to the fascia.
Risk factors for this condition include:
Involvement in sports that require extensive running;
Other activities (perhaps job related) that require standing for long periods, e.g. teaching, waiting tables at a restaurant;
Having flat feet (also known as fallen arches) can cause disposition to plantar fasciitis;
Being overweight is another risk factor that can increase your risk of developing this condition.
The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain along the bottom of the foot. It is usually at its worst when the patients takes the first few steps of the morning.
Another characteristic of this pain is that it usually flares up after a period of strenuous activity, not during it.
For some patients, the pain can get worse after the patient has been standing or sitting for a while and when he or she gets up or starts moving again.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
To treat your plantar fasciitis, your doctor may recommend the following:
Rest – avoid strenuous activities that may place additional stress on your feet;
Possible use of pain relieving medication if the condition is severe;
Daily performance of special exercises designed to keep the plantar fascia properly stretched;
Possible use of a night splint that will keep the plantar fascia stretched while you are asleep at night.