Plantar Fasciitis – Causes, Symptoms and Complications
Do you wake up in the morning, dreading to take your first steps of the day because of the sharp, stabbing pain that erupts in your foot whenever you place it down? If so, the chances are you are suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis is simply an accumulation of damage to the long band of ligament that is responsible for connecting your heel bone to your toes, fittingly called the Plantar Fascia. This long, flat band of tissue is supposed to provide stability to the arch of your foot to allow you to walk properly, but the constant beating that your feet go through on a daily basis can start to take its toll on the Plantar Fascia, and small tears and strains are extremely common. These small tears lead to inflammation, swelling and pain across the entire length of the foot.
The straining of a ligament is painful regardless of where it happens on your body, but since the feet are designed to bear the weight of your entire body, an injury to this area can be extremely painful and debilitating.
Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, and it can develop in either a single foot or both of them simultaneously. Suffering with Plantar Fasciitis can have a severe impact on your quality of life and can limit your ability to stay on your feet for prolonged periods of time.
Common Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
If the pain in your foot has only recently started becoming an issue, it is important that you understand the most common causes of the pain to make sure you do not expose yourself to the same problem in the future, or worsen the current situation.
The most common causes of Plantar Fasciitis include:
- Having flat feet, or feet with high arches. This is not something you can control, but it’s worth noting that you are more susceptible to injury if you suffer from either of these.
- Excessive Pronation. Rolling your feet inwards when you walk. To self-diagnose, simply look at the tread on the bottom of your shoes. Is it more worn on the inside?
- Spending a lot of time on your feet. Athletes, soldiers and people who work on construction sites have an increased risk of injury.
- Being overweight. The additional weight can be too much for the ligament to bear, causing a repetitive injury or a strain over time.
- Wearing incorrect footwear. Shoes that do not fit correctly or shoes that are worn out can increase your risk of injury.
- Tight supporting muscles and tendons. If your Achilles tendon or your calf muscles are too tight, there is an increased risk of injury to the Plantar Fascia.
The definitive cause of your Plantar Fasciitis is unknown, as it could be a combination of several different factors. The Plantar Fascia essentially acts as a shock-absorber, and the constant absorption of pressure can lead to strains and tears that can become swollen and inflamed. Reducing the amount of ‘shock’ you place on the arches of your feet will minimize the risk of injury.
Plantar Fasciitis is most common in middle-aged people between 40 and 60; however, this is not exclusive. Fascia injury can happen at any age.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Depending on the severity of the injury, the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis can vary from person to person. However, there are certain symptoms that are common across the board, so if you are currently suffering with any of these symptoms, it may be worth taking the time to research a course of treatment:
- Shooting or stabbing pain ranging from the heel of the foot, throughout the sole towards the toes.
- Increased levels of pain during the first few steps of the day or after prolonged periods of sitting. The ligament will shorten during periods of inactivity, making the pain worse for a while until it warms up and stretches out.
- An increase in pain when climbing stairs.
The pain can range anywhere from a slight discomfort to extreme pain, again depending on the severity of the injury. The pain will generally subside for a period of time when you are active, but it can return later in the day if you have spent a lot of time on your feet. You may also find that the pain is considerably lower during exercise but more intense after your session, during your period of rest.
Complications of Living with Plantar Fasciitis
Besides from being extremely painful, living with Plantar Fasciitis can lead to the development of other complications such as hip pain, back pain and even neck pain. When we sustain an injury, especially on our feet, we tend to temporarily adjust the way we walk in order to avoid the pain. For you, this could be putting more weight on your toes, or rolling your feet outwards more to avoid the pain of the injury. In doing so, you are throwing off the rest of your body, which has to adjust to accommodate this new movement pattern. This can lead to imbalances and postural issues from your knees up to your neck.
If you do not seek treatment, the prolonged damage to the tendon can cause chronic pain in the heel and issues that will be considerably harder to manage. If you are currently suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, it is recommended that you seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent any long-term damage being done to the injured foot.
The pain from Plantar Fasciitis can reduce the amount of activities that you can perform throughout your day, ultimately reducing your overall quality of life. Luckily, there is a cure for Plantar Fasciitis and the pain can be managed or brought down to a tolerable level. In the next section of this article, we will take a look at the different Plantar Fasciitis treatment options and what each of them can offer you. Continue Reading