Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the heel area. It is the tearing up of a tissue, known as the plantar fascia, which runs between your toes to the heel bone. This tissue is responsible for providing arch support and absorbs the load while walking and standing. But when it gets ruptured, it causes inflammation and pain.
- 1 What causes plantar fasciitis?
- 2 Reasons why one falls prey to plantar fasciitis
- 3 What happens when plantar fasciitis goes untreated?
- 4 How much time does it take to recover from plantar fasciitis condition?
- 5 The worsening of plantar fasciitis – How bad can it be?
- 6 Prevention of plantar fasciitis
What causes plantar fasciitis?
The thick band of the tissue, also known as the fascia, tends to stretch out owing to the inflexibility factors. Further, pressure on the foot causes over-stretching of the tissue beyond the normal range. As a result, it gets ruptured and causes immense pain and inflammation on the affected foot of the person who has acquired such a condition.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis
Every time you experience pain in your feet, it is not a sign of acquiring plantar fasciitis. The symptoms are different from person to person. Here are a few symptoms that you can look for that signals plantar fasciitis:
- Continuous swelling on the foot
- Feeling pain when you shift your position from standing to sitting and vice versa
- Pain on extending your toes
- Foot pain when you stand for long
- Pain in the heels, especially during the morning time
Keep a check on all the above symptoms and get yourselves checked if you happen to find these symptoms frequently occurring in your daily life. Your orthopedic foot and ankle specialist will stab on the heel. If you experience severe pain, there are high chances that you are suffering from plantar fasciitis.
Reasons why one falls prey to plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis can be summed down as tissue damage that is attached to the underneath of heels and plantar fascia. There are multiple reasons as to why one can fall prey to plantar fasciitis; here are a few of them:
Weight has a direct connection with plantar fasciitis because when you are overweight, you tend to put more weight on your feet. As a consequence, the body weight tends to worsen the pain.
As a person ages, the muscles that are responsible for supporting the arch become weaker. Thus, it causes stress in the heels and worsens the pain accrued due to plantar fasciitis.
Involvement in sports
Sportsperson needs to be active, which also puts on a lot of stress and strains the heel bone. Not just the heel bone, the tissue attached to the heels also gets affected due to the same, which poses the risk of causing plantar fasciitis. Other activities such as running, dancing, exercising, aerobics can also cause the same issues and worsen the pain.
Wearing the wrong shoes
You may get to avail a plethora of options when you go out to buy a pair of shoes. But if you happen to bring in one that lacks arch support or has stiff soles, then there are high chances that you may acquire plantar fasciitis. Thus, always use plantar fasciitis flip flops or specially designed shoes that can prevent you from falling prey to plantar fasciitis.
What happens when plantar fasciitis goes untreated?
Plantar fasciitis should be given immediate medical assistance. Otherwise, it may worsen the condition and can also give birth to other foot issues. Not only can plantar fasciitis cause pain on the affected foot, but it can make it difficult for you to walk and even result in body imbalance. Here is what actually happens when plantar fasciitis goes untreated:
Continuous stress and strain on the plantar fascia may cause tiny tears in the fascia, which further gives birth to intense pain that keeps on hiking up if not addressed at the right time. The tears may further increase in size, causing the plantar fasciitis to worsen and making the person prone to acquire debilitation or plantar rupture. In order to reduce the pain while you walk, make sure that you wear the specially designed slippers for plantar fasciitis instead of any random footwear.
Showing carelessness in treating plantar fasciitis can result in a plantar rupture, which may cause your feet to swell and experience pain. The pain is sometimes so intense that one cannot even put his/her own body weight on the affected foot. One may also get to hear a popping sound and bruised foot in case of plantar fasciitis.
Even if you tend to involve in high-impact activities such as sports, running can cause plantar rupture. As a remedy, you should seek immediate medical assistance and consider refraining yourself from putting weight on your feet or walking to recover from plantar rupture.
Heel spurs are common when you ignore plantar fasciitis. When a person acquires plantar fasciitis, the body sends a couple of cells to the affected part to reduce and mitigate the damage. However, in turn, it starts depositing calcium on the affected area. The calcium deposits further build sharp protrusions that go inside the heel pad and result in heel spurs, which causes pain with every step you take while moving.
It is the condition in which the nodules start to grow with the fascia tissue. At the early stages, the nodules grow at a slow pace, but over time, the growth rate increases, which can alleviate the pain and cause difficulty in walking.
How much time does it take to recover from plantar fasciitis condition?
Talking in general terms, plantar fasciitis is considered to cure on its own with time. Usually, it takes up to two years to recover from plantar fasciitis, but in some cases, it can even take more than two years to recover fully from this ailment.
But whatever the case may be, one should consider visiting a doctor to diagnose the real issues and seek treatment for a speedy recovery.
When is it a call for the doctor?
If you tend to suffer from continuous pain in your heels, then it is high time that you visit a doctor to get the issues diagnosed. Redness and swelling are other symptoms that you should look for, and if the pain continues for a couple of weeks & you see no signs of improvement, then schedule your appointment with orthopedics as soon as possible.
What if the pain gets worse?
If the pain continues to increase, then there are high chances that your plantar fasciitis may be worsening. Also, there are chances that you might be suffering from any other issues apart from plantar fasciitis. Hence, a full check-up for better diagnosis is the only way by which you can understand the root cause of your underlying pain and seek medication for recovery purposes.
The worsening of plantar fasciitis – How bad can it be?
Usually, many people make a common mistake and tend to ignore minute symptoms at first. They notice it only when the symptoms actually start affecting one’s wellness and other daily activities. As a result, by the time one becomes cautious and thinks of taking treatment, they are already seized in the grip of plantar fasciitis issues, which may cause disability to some extent.
Further, as the case worsens, one experiences pain on their heels, especially in the morning. Further, you can experience sharp pain when you get up from a seated position and begins to walk. Even if you sit for a short time, the pain may exist when you get up to walk. Further, the condition may worsen, and you may even feel the pain while relaxing, which can extend to experiencing pain all day long.
A few people may think that ditching exercise and walking sessions may help, but this is not an escape. As you put stress on your feet while walking or doing any other daily life activity, the situation gets worse and can cause tearing of the plantar fasciitis. Sometimes, you may experience pain while changing your posture of walking instead of minimizing the pain.
It may give a bit of relief during the present time. But if you consider it in the long run, inadequate postures can adversely affect your knees, feet, back, hips and even cause pelvic instability and osteoarthritis. If plantar fasciitis is left untreated for a long time, you can fall prey to intense heel pain that can last for years and may hinder your daily activities.
Quick remedies for plantar fasciitis
Since plantar fasciitis heals on its own with time, here are a few home remedies that you can try to get rid of the pain.
Ice packs are best suited for treating the inflammation caused due to plantar fasciitis. All you need to do is take a plastic bag and insert some crushed ice pieces inside it to make an ice pack. You can also use a towel for the same. Next, you can use the ice pack to massage it on your heels at a stretch of fifteen to twenty minutes at least twice a day for better results.
Usage of athletic tape& take rest
Athletic tapes aids in supporting your affected foot and keeps your foot moving. It doesn’t worsen the plantar fasciitis any further. Apart from this, make sure you take adequate rest. Resting for a while without putting weight on your foot can reduce the inflammation on the affected foot.
Using plantar fasciitis insoles or orthotics can also help in relieving the pain caused due to plantar fasciitis. These shoe inserts can be inserted inside the shoes for extra support and cushioning. Insoles are readily available in the market, or you can also get them custom-made as per your requirement for good arch support.
Though a person suffering from plantar fasciitis would not like the idea of exercising, sitting ideal and not exercising is not a solution. Consider stretching your calves and the part below your foot to enhance the muscle strength of your foot. Stretching exercises will help in stabilizing the ankle and reducing the pain.
Many of us have a habit of sleeping with our feet pointed in the downward direction, which can cause shortening of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. But by wearing night splints while sleeping can keep your feet in a perpendicular posture, which stretches your feet instead of shortening them. Wearing night splints may give you a bulky feel, but it is highly effective and can be discontinued once you feel relief from the pain.
Surgical treatments and medications
Apart from the aforementioned home remedies, here are a few things that your doctor may prescribe you when you get yourself treated for plantar fasciitis:
Initially, the doctor may prescribe you medications such as naproxen sodium or ibuprofen to reduce the pain and inflammation.
Therapies can strengthen your muscles, and thus a doctor may advise you to undergo physical therapy that includes stretching exercises to strengthen the muscles in the lower leg. The doctors may also use the massager for plantar fasciitis to get you relief from the pain caused due to the underlying issue. Further wearing orthotics and night splints to stretch the foot arch and calf can also be recommended to treat the condition.
In some cases, the doctors may also consider injecting steroids to the affected area to give pain relief temporarily. The platelet-rich plasma can also be injected to hike up the rate of tissue healing.
Ultrasonic tissue repair
With the continuous advancement of technology, ultrasonic has also been introduced to treat plantar fasciitis. In this process, ultrasound imaging is used for probing needle-like structures in the damaged tissues, which uses ultrasonic energy to vibrate the probes. The vibrations caused on the probes force the damaged tissues to break apart and are suctioned out to cause tissue repair.
Shock wave therapy
Shock wave therapy is used to direct the sound waves on the affected area to revive the healing process. This treatment is ideal for those who have chronic plantar fasciitis and do not attain positive results even after undergoing conservative treatments.
In some cases, a person suffering from plantar fasciitis may also have to undergo surgery to get the plantar fascia tissue detached from the heel bone. Surgery is the last resort opted by doctors when medications do not work out the right way and is a process that takes place through a small incision.
Prevention of plantar fasciitis
Many people have this question in mind whether they can prevent themselves from falling prey to plantar fasciitis or prevent plantar fasciitis from coming back. Yes, you can indeed prevent it by bringing in a few changes in your lifestyle. Here is how you can do it:
Low impact exercises
Exercises can help reduce the pain, and thus, getting yourself involved in low-impact exercises such as cycling, swimming, etc., can help prevent plantar fasciitis from getting worse.
Being obese is one of the major culprits to acquire plantar fasciitis. The more you weigh, the more the pressure will be on your feet, resulting in plantar fasciitis. Thus, it is better to work on your weight or join a weight loss program or anything that can help you shed off those extra ounces to stay at bay from this health condition.
Wearing the right shoes
Another culprit that can actually worsen plantar fasciitis is the type of shoes you wear. Ditching high heels and wearing the best shoes for plantar fasciitis that offers good support can help prevent plantar fasciitis. Also, make sure that you keep replacing your athletic shoes when you find that it is not good enough to offer your feet ample support. Avoid walking with no shoes on hard surfaces, and always use supportive footwear instead of falling for any enticing footwear that comes your way.
The bottom line
We hope that this guide proves to be helpful enough to keep a check on your plantar fasciitis condition. Plantar fasciitis can cause a lot of discomforts, but with proper care and treatment, one can win the battle over plantar fasciitis. Thus, check out this guide and get yourself treated as soon as you find symptoms of plantar fasciitis showing up so that it’s not too late before you make your mind to undergo treatment.
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.