Plantar fasciitis is associated with an overexertion syndrome with a local inflammatory response caused by trauma. Plantar fasciitis is characterized by pain localized at the base of the heel. The sensation of pain may be acute and occur abruptly after exercise, or it may be a dull in nature pain that occurs gradually over time. It is most common in active athletes: runners, football players, tennis players and others, but often affects middle-aged people who do not lead an active lifestyle.
Reasons for this can be:
- purely mechanical – associated with wearing uncomfortable shoes, activities on hard terrain;
- associated with errors in the training process – a sharp increase in speed and distance during training, insufficient warm-up, fatigue;
- muscle imbalance, inelastic Achilles tendon, flat feet, obesity and others.
Plantar fasciitis is associated with inflammatory and degenerative changes in the plantar fascia. It is a connective tissue band starting from the heel and extending to the toes. Its location and functions play an important role in the proper shape and function of the foot and the arches that strengthen it. In inflammation of the plantar fascia, the lesion site is particularly sensitive even to palpation. This often makes it difficult to walk, especially after a long rest. Patients often complain of severe pain after waking up. Pain and discomfort tend to subside after warming up, but prolonged exercise and standing still make the problem worse. Over time, a bone spur may form at the site of inflammation, causing permanent pain and discomfort with each step. Therefore, timely adequate treatment at an early stage is important to prevent chronicity and complications.
Diagnosis and treatment of plantar fasciitis
The diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is made by an orthopedist after taking a history, examination and palpation. The diagnostic process can lead you to an X-ray and an MRI. Treatment is often non-surgical with anti-inflammatory corticosteroids and is combined with rest and placement of a night orthosis. The duration of the healing process can reach 4 – 6 weeks until the complete disappearance of symptoms. Initially, the treatment is aimed at reducing pain and swelling, and subsequently to restore the function of the ankle-foot complex. In this regard, physiotherapy and rehabilitation with gradual loading can improve tissue slippage, correct muscle imbalance, strengthen the arches and gradually prepare for a more serious sports load.
How to help yourself
- Lose weight. This will reduce the tension on the plantar fascia.
- Avoid wearing high heels.
- Wear comfortable shoes in your everyday life.
- Avoid training on artificial terrain and hard surfaces.
- Support the arches with and with exercises, barefoot walking.
- Do exercises for mobility and stability of the ankle joint.
- Stretch the Achilles tendons
- Do not neglect the toes of your feet. The plantar fascia ends there, and they often remain insufficiently active in closed shoes.
- Massage your feet.
- Rest from activities that provoke the problem. You can temporarily replace high-intensity sports with low-intensity loads and benefit from your health.
We wish you luck!