What is Plantar Fasciitis and how can you prevent it?
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the Plantar Fascia. The plantar fascial is a thick band of tissue that runs along your heel to the middle of your foot bone. The purpose of this Plantar fascia is to support the arch of your foot as well as acting as a shock absorber. When this tissue becomes inflamed, usually over a period of time, you begin to experience a lot of pain in the heel of your foot.
This is a fairly common condition with around 10% of the population experience Plantar Fasciitis at some point in their lives. As this is a condition that usually develops over a long period of time, most cases are within the 40+ age group.
What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is usually the result of repetitive strain, injury or weight overload on the fascia. As this fascia starts to swell, this stress has a greater impact ultimately resulting in pain. We all put a lot of stress on our feet but if you walk a lot, stand in one position for long periods of time and/or run frequently, you are more likely to experience such a condition. Other causes include being overweight, wearing shoes with poor support or having a tight Achilles tendon.
Image Credit: Lucien Monfils
How do I know if I have Plantar Fasciitis?
Any sort of pain under your heel can be an indicator especially when trying to walk after long periods of rest. If you are unsure, it’s best to get a professional opinion from your GP or Podiatrist. Any sort of pain in your feet is not normal so even if you have your doubts as to whether this is Plantar Fasciitis, there is most likely some underlying problem.
Your GP/Podiatrist will examine your feet and if they believe you may have Plantar Fasciitis, will take a closer look using X-rays.
What is the cure for Plantar Fasciitis?
Quite often, pain will ease over a period of time with less stress and pressure on the foot. You will usually be given Ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory) and cream to use for a few weeks and symptoms will gradually ease. Ice packs can also help with the swelling while gentle exercises that stretch the Achillies tendon and Plantar Fascia can also help.
In more extreme cases, injections, therapy or surgery may be required. Getting your condition checked as soon as you are experiencing symptoms will dramatically reduce the need for this treatment.
How can I prevent Plantar Fasciitis?
The easiest way to prevent Plantar Fasciitis is to limit the pressure on the fascia and achillies tendon. Try to work on your balance to ensure weight is distributed evenly across the foot, wear comfortable, supportive running shoes and change your shoes up regularly. Practicing gentle stretching exercises is also a great preventative measure.
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Until next time, have a great day!