Plantar fasciitis: causes, symptoms and treatments

Updated on 23 May 2024

Plantar fasciitis: causes, symptoms and treatments

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition. A strain or break in the plantar fascia, the fibrous band that supports the arch of the foot, is at the root of this condition.

Heel discomfort is the most prominent sign of this condition. It will be felt from the first steps in the morning or after a lengthy period of sitting.

You can find plantar fasciitis symptoms, causes, and remedies are listed below.

Plantar fasciitis symptoms

A person with plantar fasciitis will feel discomfort when they first walk in the morning, but it will subside over the day. They will also experience discomfort after sitting for an extended period of time.

Plantar fasciitis can also cause the following symptoms:

  • Pain when palpating your arch or when pressing on your heel;
  • Standing or walking causes pain, which might worsen over time;
  • Tension on the outside of the foot, which can cause compensating foot and leg discomfort;
  • A condition that gets worse over time without treatment;
  • Pinching;
  • Heat sensation in the heel;
  • The sensation of a spike under the heel, as if it were a thorn in the flesh;
  • Moving around becomes difficult, especially up and down stairs.

Plantar fasciitis diagnosis

Plantar fasciitis has symptoms that are similar to those of other foot disorders.

Here are several examples:

Additional foot and posture tests may be performed by the podiatrist to rule out these conditions.

They also help the podiatrist figure out what is causing the foot fascia irritation.

The following tests are performed in clinic to detect plantar fasciitis:

  • The podiatrist does a biomechanical examination to look for anomalies in the foot’s function;
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which can detect a torn plantar fascia;
  • Digital x-ray of the foot, which is used to detect possible complications such as a heel spur;
  • Ultrasound of the foot, which detects soft tissue damage such as tendons, nerves and muscles.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is caused by a variety of factors. Here are some possible causes:

Obesity:

This is also why some pregnant women get plantar fasciitis (sudden increase in weight).

Your foot type:

If you have a flat or hollow foot, you will be more likely to develop this type of pathology.

Your shoes:

You are at increased risk if you wear shoes that are too worn, have a soft counter, are too stiff or not stiff enough, or have insufficient arch support.

Legs:

You’re more at danger if one leg is longer than the other or if your leg rotation is inadequate.

Calves:

You might be susceptible if your calf muscles are overly powerful or lack flexibility (stiffness).

Physical exercise:

Plantar fasciitis can also be caused by a lack of stretching during workout. Athletes that engage in high-intensity activities such as running, lengthy walks, or leaping are also more susceptible to this sort of condition.

Age:

Your plantar fascia becomes more stiff as you get older. Micro-tears may occur as a result of this. It’s worth noting that stretching can be harmful in this situation.

Inflammatory diseases: 

If you have an inflammatory illness like arthritis, you’re more vulnerable.

Plantar fasciitis can be prevented by taking certain precautions, especially if you’ve already had it. Changing some behaviours is extremely essential.

  • Physical activity: take a break between activities;
  • Listen to the symptoms: stop an activity that worsens your pain;
  • Train in the right conditions: stretch and get the right equipment for new activities;
  • Healthy weight: maintain your figure;
  • Gradually resume walking or running;
  • After your activities, do some flexibility exercises;
  • Shoes: Replace your running shoes every 600 to 800 kilometres, and make sure the quality of your shoes is appropriate for the activity you participate in.

Plantar fasciitis remedies at home

Fasciitis pain can be relieved with a variety of home remedies. Here they are, in order of least intrusive to most invasive procedures.

  • Avoid walking barefoot;
  • Massage the soles of your feet;
  • Reduce irritation using an elastic bandage;
  • Reduce your activities, particularly those that make you uncomfortable;
  • Apply ice to the sore spot for ten minutes every hour.

Exercises to alleviate plantar fasciitis discomfort

Inflammation of the plantar fascia is caused by a lack of flexibility and rigidity of the foot tissues.

The obvious thing to do to alleviate heel pain and avoid plantar fasciitis is to start doing certain workouts.

Here are some stretching suggestions for relieving and possibly preventing plantar fasciitis:

To strengthen the foot muscles, do the following:

  1. Take a small towel with you
  2. Place your foot in the centre of the cloth while sitting
  3. With your toes, grab the fabric and try to pull it back towards you
  4. Replace the towel and follow the same steps as before three times

To relax the fascia of the foot, do the following:

  1. Place a tennis ball beneath your foot when sitting or standing
  2. Roll the ball from heel to toe to put some weight on it
  3. Repeat the movements for 5 minutes

Stretching the calf muscles (gastrocnemius muscle)

  1. Place yourself against a wall
  2. Place the non-painful foot’s toe on the wall, maintaining the other leg straight
  3. Stretch the calf by inclining the hips towards the wall
  4. Stay in this position for about 30 seconds
  5. Rep the stretch four times during the day, at three separate times

Plantar fasciitis medical treatments

If stretching and preventative measures fail to relieve plantar fasciitis, podiatric therapies may be required.

In less serious situations, the podiatrist may recommend treatment options such as:

  • Performing more precise exercises and stretches;
  • Stable shoes with modest cushions (sneakers are the best option);
  • Manual foot therapy with your podiatrist;
  • Meet with your podiatrist for therapeutic foot taping;
  • Ask your podiatrist for anti-inflammatory medication.

Some of the most severe situations may necessitate more drastic measures.

These are, of course, always done by your podiatrist.

Podiatric surgery.

Lenoir’s thorn, a plantar fasciitis complication

One of the most prevalent causes of heel discomfort is plantar fasciitis. It is not, however, the only one.

Heel spurs are a medical foot problem that leads to visits to the podiatrist. However, it is critical not to mix up the two situations.

The main distinction between plantar fasciitis and heel spurs is that the former is frequently the cause of the latter.

In reality, the foot suffering from fasciitis produces an excess of calcium as a result of micro-tears and inflammation.

A heel spur is formed when the calcification of the heel bone increases.

It’s crucial to note, however, that the spur is not painful on its own. The discomfort is caused by its interaction with the inflamed aponeurosis.

The plantar fascia might become damaged if the heel spur is not treated properly.

FootNetwork – Learn more

Are you interested in learning more about plantar fasciitis? It’s something we write about quite a lot!

However, while the FootNetwork website provides a wealth of information on foot pathology descriptions, it is not a substitute for a visit to a podiatrist.

Take care of your feet, they’re precious!

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia – a fibrous ligament that supports the foot’s arch. This disease generally causes excruciating foot discomfort. It is, after all, one of the most prevalent causes of foot pain.

What is the cause of plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis can be caused by overtraining, ill-fitting shoes, being overweight, or having flat or cavus feet.

What exactly is the distinction between plantar fasciitis and a heel spur?

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a fibrous ligament that supports the foot’s arch. Calcaneal heel spur, on the other hand, is a bony protrusion on the plantar fascia. Although they are distinct, these two diseases are linked because a heel spur is frequently the result of untreated plantar fasciitis. 

How can I take care of my plantar fasciitis at home? 

Plantar fasciitis should always be treated by a podiatrist. Its pain, however, may be relieved at home by applying ice, resting from walking or standing, and extending your foot and calf. These can be recommended by your podiatrist.

How can plantar fasciitis be treated without surgery?

In less severe situations, your podiatrist may use manual therapy or therapeutic taping to treat your plantar fasciitis. Laser treatment, ShockWave, prescribed foot orthotics, or cortisone injections can be used to treat more severe instances of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis seldom needs surgery.

What is the estimated recovery time following plantar fasciitis treatment?

When therapies for plantar fasciitis are effective, you should notice an improvement in your symptoms within 2-4 weeks. However, you should wait 2 to 3 months for complete recovery.

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