Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Plantar Fasciitis – Causes and Remedies

Foot conditions can be of different types of which plantar fasciitis is a common one. When you feel pain in the bottom of the heel portion then it might be related to plantar fasciitis. The thick connective tissue which supports arch portion on the bottom of the foot thus helping in proper movement is known as plantar fascia. Though its prime function is to act as shock absorber it can get damaged or inflamed due to excessive pressure on the foot portion. The end result: stiffness, discomfort and extreme heel pain.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Reasons are many. People having obesity or weight gain problem are prone to plantar fasciitis. Sudden weight gain can trigger such foot condition. This is why pregnant women often experience bouts of plantar fascia pain. Long distance runners or those who need to stand for long hours for job purpose can suffer from this problem too. The age group of 40-70 who lead very active life is at highest risk level as well. Again study shows that women usually suffer more from this particular foot problem. There are many who tend to get affected with conditions like very high arches or flat feet. Such situations might also result in plantar fasciitis. Tight Achilles tendons can cause plantar fascia pain too. It is seen that shoes having soft soles or poor arch supports can sometimes lead to plantar fascia problem. However it is a misconception that heel spur may result in plantar fasciitis.

How the problem is diagnosed?

It is up to the foot specialist to detect if the patient is indeed suffering from plantar fasciitis. A physical examination is done to check tenderness of foot and precise point of pain. The podiatrist carries out a thorough evaluation to assess the patient’s reflexes, muscle tones, response to touch and sight, his co-ordination and body balance. An X-Ray or MRI is advised to check out if there is any bone fracture.

How to treat plantar fasciitis?

The basic treatment aims at reducing inflammation. In general home remedies or stretching exercises are suggested to take care of plantar fascia pain. In case the condition turns too unbearable then the doctor might suggest anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone injections. However it is never advisable to take medicine without proper medical advice. The extreme step is surgery which is advised only when the condition has turned extremely severe.
Another treatment often suggested by podiatrists is night splint which acts like brace and helps stretch calf and the arch portion. This results in lengthening of plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and that too real fast. Night splints offer great relief from morning foot pain or stiffness. Many patients get fast respite from plantar fascia pain by shifting to specially designed orthotics or arch supports. These help distribute foot pressure, thus preventing greater damage of plantar fascia. Proper footwear which provides extra comfort by cushioning the heel portion and absorbing shock has proved to be quite effective for this particular foot problem.
Ignoring plantar fasciitis can lead to severely painful conditions and other ailments. Hence a timely treatment is always advised.

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