If you experience a stabbing pain in your foot without the presence of an acute injury, you might be suffering from plantar fasciitis. This common condition causes pain in the foot and can range from mild to severe. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce the pain and bring your feet back to a healthy status. Read on for information about plantar fasciitis, its causes, symptoms, and treatments.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a degenerative condition of the plantar facia — a thick, weblike ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. The plantar facia ligament goes through a lot of wear and tear as you walk, stand, and exercise. Repeated pressure, tension, and stretching can cause tearing of the plantar fascia and result in its inflammation and degeneration.
Although plantar fasciitis can occur without an apparent cause, certain factors can increase your chances of developing the condition. These factors include:
- Age: Individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis.
- Exercise: Certain activities like ballet and long-distance running can put a lot of pressure on your heel and contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis.
- Foot mechanics: Structural specifics like flat feet and high arches can put additional pressure on the plantar facia.
- Obesity: Excess weight can also put extra pressure on your plantar facia and exacerbate any issues with it.
- Work conditions: If you are in a line of work that requires you to be on your feet for most of the day, you could be at an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis usually include stabbing pain in the heel of your foot. The pain is normally worst after periods of no movement and in the mornings but will gradually subside once you start walking. You may also experience increased pain after exercise, but not during it. Other symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Constant discomfort
- Pain in the morning
- Tightening tendons
- Pain in one foot
Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis
To diagnose plantar fasciitis, your doctor will likely perform a physical examination and take down your medical history. Additionally, your doctor can order imaging tests like X-rays and MRI to rule out other problems like stress fractures.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Most individuals who suffer from plantar fasciitis can naturally recover in several months by using treatments like resting, icing, and stretching. Here are some other available treatments for plantar fasciitis:
- Therapies: Therapy options like physical therapy, night splints, and orthotics can help stabilize the foot and improve symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
- Surgical procedures: Surgical procedures like injections, ultrasonic tissue repair, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, and surgery may be appropriate if the more conservative options don’t work.
- Lifestyle and home remedies: Maintaining a healthy weight, opting for supportive shoes, changing your workout routines, and stretching your arches can all help alleviate pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
When Should I See a Doctor?
As with any type of pain, it is always best to consult a medical professional in order to rule out more serious foot problems like stress fractures. UAB Medical West in Birmingham, Alabama, cares about the health of your feet and is here to answer all of your questions about plantar fasciitis.
UAB Medical West in Birmingham, Alabama is Here for You and Your Feet
Plantar fasciitis can be a painful condition that prevents you from being as physically active as you would like. Fortunately, proper care, mild therapies, and at-home treatments can help alleviate the pain associated with plantar fasciitis and return your feet to normal. If you have any questions regarding the health of your feet, contact us to schedule an appointment today. Serving Hueytown, Hoover, Bessemer, McCalla, and Vance!