People who think they may be suffering from Plantar Fasciitis have many questions about the condition and how to treat it. Below we have briefly answered the most commonly asked Plantar Fasciitis questions.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis (fashee-eye-tus) is a painful foot condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 adults. A band of tissue, known as the plantar fascia, runs the length of the base of the foot from the heel to the toes. When this tissue is overstretched, it can tear and become inflamed which causes intense pain when you first stand up to walk, or apply pressure to the foot after a period of rest.
What does the Plantar Fascia do?
The plantar fascia is a connective tissue that runs along the base of the foot to support the arch. The fascia connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot behind the toes. This band of tissue acts as a kind of shock absorber and distributes your weight as it is applied to the foot.
What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
The most common symptom of Plantar Fasciitis is a pain in the heel of the foot when you first stand up in the morning after a nights sleep, or when you rise from a period of rest. This pain will usually ease off and disappear within a few minutes of walking.
Initially, the pain can feel like a minor discomfort, very much like the feeling you get when you have a stone in your shoe. However, over time, if the condition is ignored, the pain increases and becomes much more severe, almost unbearable.
Are Heel Spurs the same thing as Plantar Fasciitis?
No, this is a common mistake that people make.
Heel spurs are a calcified bone-like build up that develops on the heel bone. It protrudes out from the heel bone towards the toes.
It is possible to have heel spurs and not have plantar fasciitis, just as it is possible to have Plantar fasciitis and no heel spurs.
If you develop a heel spur, it can increase in size over time and then begin to affect the plantar fascia tissue. As pressure is put onto the foot, the spur can be forced into the fascia tissue and cause it to become damaged and inflamed, leading on to become plantar fasciitis.
A heel spur can be seen protruding from the heel bone on the x-ray below.
How does the Plantar Fascia become Damaged?
There are many different factors that can play a part in the development of plantar fasciitis.
Below are a list of the 8 most common causes of plantar fasciitis
- Being overweight
- Wearing worn or unsupportive footwear
- Taking part in High Impact Sports
- Working or standing on your feet all day
- Fallen or high arches in your feet
- Other contributing medical conditions
How Common Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Approximately 1 in 10 adults will suffer with Plantar fasciitis at some time during their adult life.
Plantar fasciitis usually affects women more than men, and is most commonly found in those over the age of 45 years.
However, certain factors such as weight or sports can cause the condition to be experienced by people much younger than that, and is quite a common complaint with high impact sport athletes such as footballers and basketball players.
Can I prevent Plantar Fasciitis from occurring?
Although you cannot entirely prevent PF from occurring, you can take certain measures to help minimise the likelihood of you developing the condition.
By following some, or all of the steps listed below, you will be improving you chances of remaining free of the problem
- Wear correct fitting shoes that offer full support and avoid or limit how often you wear high heeled shoes.
- Ensure you maintain a healthy weight.
- If you are a runner or athlete, replace your footwear every 500 miles, or sooner if they no longer provide the required support.
- Avoid or limit the amount of high impact sports you participate in that adds more stress to the fascia or risks damage.
- Replace old or worn out shoes.
As you can see, helping to prevent Plantar Fasciitis from developing is all about ensuring your feet have the correct support, and limiting the stress to the plantar fasia tissue.
What are the treatment options for Plantar Fasciitis?
There are different stages of treatment for Plantar Fasciitis depending on the severity of your condition, and your response to treatment methods being applied.
Mainly the different stages are:
Pain & Anti Inflammatory Medication
Shoe Inserts / Orthotics
Will I fully recover from Plantar Fasciitis?
Although recovery times differ with every patient, most people do recover from the condition, and many within 12 months.
However, there are many factors that will influence the plantar fasciitis recovery rate such as:
- Severity of the condition
- Response to treatment
- Activity level of sufferer
- Patients own willingness to help themselves
Recovery will almost always be quicker amongst patients that choose to follow some kind of recovery plan. Those that do their best to help themselves with rest, stretching exercises and wearing supportive footwear will promote faster healing.
Can I treat Plantar Fasciitis at home?
The main treatment for Plantar Fasciitis is time, rest and gentle stretching exercises.
If you feel comfortable doing so, you can watch videos on different stretching videos and practice them in the comfort of your own home.
Take a look at our 5 minute Stretching Routine that will help speed up your recovery.
Some sufferers prefer to visit a Physiotherapist for a few sessions to ensure they are following a beneficial program, prior to continuing with the exercises at home.
Others have had success by following a downloadable home recovery program such as the Plantar Fasciitis Cure that provides a step by step guide to healing at home.
It is probably wise to discuss with your GP the kind of exercises and treatment program you intend to follow at home, prior to commencement, just to be sure you will not be causing further harm.
Will I need to have surgery to cure my Plantar Fasciitis?
Surgery is a last resort measure to the condition and is only required in about 5% of all cases.
Hopefully we have answered your Plantar Fasciitis questions and how to treat the condition.
You should be heartened by the fact that the condition is usually only temporary, and can usually be treated easily and within your own home.
Depending on the severity of your case, you should feel improvement within weeks of beginning treatment, and be fully recovered within 12 months.