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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ndidi Ufondu, DPM

What you should know about Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that causes pain and inflammation in the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes. The plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot and acts as a shock absorber when you walk, run, or jump. When the plantar fascia becomes irritated or damaged, it can lead to plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis can affect anyone, but some people are more prone to it than others. In this article, we will explore some of the common causes and risk factors of plantar fasciitis, and how you can prevent or treat this condition. We will also share some insights from our team of podiatric doctors at New Horizon Foot and Ankle Specialists LLC, who have extensive experience in diagnosing and managing plantar fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is usually caused by repetitive stress or strain on the plantar fascia. This can happen due to:

  1. Overuse: If you engage in activities that put a lot of pressure on your feet, such as running, dancing, jumping, or standing for long periods, you may overstretch or tear your plantar fascia. This can cause inflammation and micro-tears in the tissue, which can lead to pain and stiffness.

  2. Improper footwear: Wearing shoes that do not fit well, do not provide enough cushioning or support, or have a high heel can also contribute to plantar fasciitis. Shoes that are too tight, too loose, or too worn out can alter your foot biomechanics and cause excessive stress on your plantar fascia.

  3. Foot problems: Some people have foot conditions that can predispose them to plantar fasciitis, such as flat feet, high arches, bunions, hammertoes, or heel spurs. These conditions can affect the alignment and function of your feet and cause abnormal tension on your plantar fascia.

  4. Weight gain: Carrying extra weight can also increase the load on your feet and plantar fascia. This can be especially true during pregnancy, when hormonal changes can also affect the elasticity and strength of your ligaments and tendons.

Using Improper or Tight footwears can cause Plantar Fasciitis
Using Improper or Tight footwears can cause Plantar Fasciitis

Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis

Some factors that can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis include:

  • Age: Plantar fasciitis is more common in people between 40 and 60 years old. As you age, your plantar fascia may lose some of its flexibility and resilience, making it more prone to injury.

  • Occupation: If you work in a job that requires you to stand, walk, or lift heavy objects for long hours, you may be more likely to develop plantar fasciitis. Examples of such occupations include teachers, nurses, factory workers, construction workers, and retail workers.

  • Exercise: Certain types of exercise can also increase your risk of plantar fasciitis, especially if you do not warm up properly, stretch regularly, or rest adequately. Activities that involve running, jumping, or sudden changes of direction can put a lot of stress on your plantar fascia. Examples of such activities include jogging, sprinting, soccer, basketball, tennis, and ballet.

  • Medical conditions: Some medical conditions can also affect your foot health and increase your risk of plantar fasciitis. These include diabetes, arthritis, gout, thyroid problems, and autoimmune disorders.

Prevention and Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

The good news is that plantar fasciitis can be prevented and treated with some simple measures. Here are some tips to help you avoid or relieve plantar fasciitis:

  1. Wear proper footwear: Choose shoes that fit well, provide adequate cushioning and arch support, and have a low to moderate heel. Avoid wearing shoes that are too tight, too loose, too high-heeled, or too worn out. Replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles if you are a runner or every six months if you are not.

  2. Stretch your feet and calves: Stretching your feet and calves can help improve your flexibility and blood circulation and reduce tension on your plantar fascia. You can do some simple stretches at home or at work, such as rolling your foot over a tennis ball or a water bottle, pulling your toes toward your shin, or leaning against a wall with one leg bent and one leg straight behind you.

  3. Rest and ice: If you feel pain or inflammation in your heel or arch, take a break from your activity and apply ice to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. This can help reduce swelling and inflammation and ease your pain. You can also take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to help with the pain and inflammation.

  4. Seek professional help: If your pain persists or worsens, or if you have difficulty walking or performing your daily activities, you should consult a podiatric doctor as soon as possible. A podiatric doctor can diagnose the cause of your plantar fasciitis and recommend the best treatment option for you. Some of the treatment options that a podiatric doctor may suggest include:

    • Custom orthotics: These are specially designed shoe inserts that can correct your foot alignment and provide extra cushioning and support for your plantar fascia. Custom orthotics can help reduce stress and strain on your plantar fascia and improve your foot function and comfort.

    • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can teach you exercises and techniques to strengthen your foot and lower leg muscles, improve your balance and coordination, and enhance your mobility and flexibility. Physical therapy can also help you prevent further injury and recurrence of plantar fasciitis.

    • Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT): This is a non-invasive procedure that uses sound waves to stimulate healing and repair in your plantar fascia. ESWT can help reduce pain and inflammation and promote tissue regeneration in your plantar fascia.

    • Corticosteroid injections: These are injections of anti-inflammatory medication that can help reduce pain and inflammation in your plantar fascia. Corticosteroid injections can provide temporary relief for severe or chronic cases of plantar fasciitis, but they should be used with caution as they may have some side effects, such as weakening or rupturing of the plantar fascia.

New Horizon Foot and Ankle Specialists LLC: Your Trusted Partner for Plantar Fasciitis Care

At New Horizon Foot and Ankle Specialists LLC, we understand how plantar fasciitis can affect your quality of life and well-being. That is why we are committed to providing you with the best podiatric care possible. Our team of podiatric doctors has the expertise, experience, and equipment to diagnose and treat plantar fasciitis effectively and efficiently. We use the latest technology and techniques to ensure that you receive the most appropriate and personalized treatment plan for your condition. We also offer education and guidance on how to prevent or manage plantar fasciitis in the future.

We look forward to helping you get back on your feet!

Did you know?

One of the celebrities who has suffered from plantar fasciitis is Shaquille O’Neal, the former basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, suffered from plantar fasciitis? In 2001, he was forced to spend time off the court due to the painful condition. He was able to recover by resting his plantar fascia and wearing orthotics to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis and other foot pain .


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