Our feet undergo a lot of pressure and stress every day, so it’s quite natural that they hurt by the end of the day. But if there’s a constant pain in the bottom of the heel, you got to get it checked as it might be not some regular heel pain, it can be Plantar Fasciitis. Approx. 15% of foot complaints ultimately lead to plantar fasciitis and around 59% of Indians are reported to have such kind of heel pain as per the study of Dr. Nitin Ajitkumar Menon, Department of Pain Medicine, Maharashtra.
What is the difference?
Known as the largest ligament in the human body, Plantar Fasciitis is a thick, web like ligament called (”fascia”) that connects the heel to the toes. These are the tissues that support the muscles and arch of the foot, thus helping us to walk. When there is too much pressure on the feet or when the ligaments get overly stretched, tiny tears start to appear on their surface, causing pain and inflammation, which was mistaken to be some bony growths called heel spurs, but was later discovered that heel spurs are the result and not the cause of pain from plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis Causes :
Those who are overweight or obese, pregnant ladies, long-distance runners, are most likely to develop it due to the increased pressure on the plantar fascia ligaments. Apart from that, if your job involves being on your feet often, there is a higher risk too. According to the statistics, active men and women between the ages of 40 and 70 are at the highest risk for developing plantar fasciitis which is slightly more common in women than men. Other plantar fasciitis causes are structural foot problems, tight Achilles tendons, wearing shoes with soft soles, poor arch support, strain injury due to excessive running or walking or jumping, due to certain diseases, including reactive arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Plantar fasciitis Symptoms :
A sharp stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel.
Difficulty taking the first step in the morning
Worsening pain after a prolonged activity like sitting or standing
Plantar fasciitis Treatments:
Following are the plantar fasciitis treatment options that can ease the pain and reduce the inflammation of your feet.
Massages and Therapies:
Ice massage application is the first and the foremost remedy to treat plantar fasciitis. If there is no relief, you can head to a doctor who will prescribe you Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) etc.
If pain continues and does not respond to prescribed NSAIDs, injecting a steroid injection may help. But, it might be a temporary relief.
Braces and supports:
Generally physiotherapists recommend wearing a splint to treat plantar fasciitis as it stretches the calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep, holding them in a flexed position overnight. This can prevent morning pain and stiffness. While orthos may advise you to wear arch supports, for your shoes to reduce the pressure on your heel.
To strengthen and stretch your plantar fascia, it is advisable to go to a physical therapist. A series of exercises under the physio doctor’s guidance can even make the pain go away forever. You can also learn various exercises and the right method to apply athletic taping to support the bottom of your foot.
If you are coming to terms that surgery is the only option or if you don’t want to suffer from the side effects of the above, then you must go for electrotherapy. Its safe, 100% natural and gives permanent relief from the discomfort of pain, inflammation and stiffness of plantar fasciitis without any harmful effects. Moreover, electrotherapy devices are easy to carry and hence you can stimulate the blood flow in the painful area anytime, anywhere.