What Is It?
Plantar Fasciitis is the pathology that relates to pain and strain in the sole of the foot caused by overuse or improper use of the plantar fascia- a strand of ligaments running from the heel to the balls of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis is most often related to pain and discomfort in the bottom of the foot, especially in the first part of the morning or after strenuous use such as working or jogging. Plantar Fasciitis is common in many people, especially middle-aged people such as athletes and others who spend a lot of time on their feet.
What Causes It?
Anatomically: The Plantar Fascia ligament supports the arch of the foot and attaches from the calcaneus (heel) to the base of the metatarsals (balls of the foot). When this ligament becomes overused, it has a tendency to stretch and become less supportive to the shape of the foot. With decreasing support from the Plantar Fascia ligament, the arch of the foot begins to flatten out which puts increased pressure and stress on the tarsals (ankle bones) and metatarsals (foot bones). It also increases the strain on the muscles that surround the ankle and foot, which attempt to compensate for the lack of arch support and in turn become overused themselves.
Physically: The Plantar Fascia ligament can be strained by many daily activities. Running or jogging on hard surfaces is one of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis, especially when improper or overused footwear is worn. Other causes of Plantar Fasciitis include over-pronation when walking, standing for long periods of time, and excessive tightness and/or weakness in the surrounding foot and lower-leg muscles. Obesity is also a cause of plantar fasciitis as well as faulty gait patterns.
Can It Be Fixed?
YES!!! For any degree of Plantar Fascia, the first step to recovery is to reduce overuse of your foot! Cutting out excessive running, standing, and walking will allow the foot to begin its process of natural healing. Minor cases of Plantar Fasciitis can also be treated and relieved by use of household medications such as Tylenol in conjunction with ICE. More severe cases can be treated by professionally fitted footwear and/or physical therapy to relieve symptoms and promote healing of the Plantar Fascia ligament. Wearing supportive shoes that have good arch support and a slightly raised heel reduces stress on the plantar fascia.
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