Plantar fasciitis refers to one of the most ordinary causes of heel ache common in runners, overweight people and those who wear shoes with insufficient support and involves pain and irritation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia that runs across the bottom of one's foot and connecting the heel bone to the toes.
This condition regularly causes stabbing pain during one's very first steps in the morning but as the foot limbers up, the pain decreases but may return after long periods of standing or when one gets up from a seating position. In such cases, rest is vital.
The following factors may increase your risk of plantar fasciitis:
- Age: Your risk is high if you are aged between 40 and 60
- Certain exercises: Exercises that put a lot of stress on your heel as well as arched tissue may increase your vulnerability. Some common examples include running, ballet dancing and aerobics
- Faulty foot mechanics: People who are flat-footed or have a high arch have a higher risk. Having an abnormal gait can also affect the weight that is distributed on your feet while you stand
- Obesity: Excess weight can add more stress to your plantar fascia
- Occupations that require a lot of standing or other weight-bearing activities: Teachers and factory workers, for example
An individual's plantar fascia act like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in the foot. Thus, any tension or strain on that bowstring becomes too great and may create small rips in the fascia. Continued stretching however leads to irritation of the fascia.
Factors boosting a person's risk of developing plantar fasciitis include, but are not limited,to his or her age, since this condition is most common in persons between the ages of 40 and 60 years. Specific forms of exercise such as long distance running places a lot of strain on the heels and attached tissues and having a flat foot or having an abnormal pattern of walking can adversely affect the way weight is distributed when one is standing and put added stress on the plantar fascia. In addition, obese people are vulnerable to this condition and jobs like teaching, factory workers and other occupation that may keep one on his or her feet may damage plantar fascia.
Plantar fasciitis if ignored may lead to chronic pain in individuals that may hinder one from going about his or her daily regular activities. Evidently, changing one's walking style in order to minimize the pain associated with plantar fasciitis may lead to knee, foot or even back complications.
People suffering from this pain usually recover with conservative treatments if a few months. However, other therapies are necessary in treatment of plantar fasciitis. These include stretching and strengthening exercises involved in a physical therapy, wearing of night splints to stretch the calf and the arch of the foot while one is asleep and orthotics that is prescribed by a general practitioner to help distribute pressure evenly on one's feet.
The following self-care tips help to reduce pain associated with plantar fasciitis: maintaining a healthy weight to minimize the stress, avoiding high shoes, avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces and avoiding wearing worn-out athletic shoes. In addition, replace the old athletic shoes before they stop cushioning the feet, changing one's sport by choosing a low impact sport. Again, apply ice pack on the affected area for some minutes and other lifestyle techniques such as stretching the Achilles and calf muscles.