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Plantar fasciitis

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Admin, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member

    Plantar fasciitis is probably one of the most common foot problems seen. It is due to an inflammation of the plantar fascia, though there is some information that it is more of a degeneration as opposed to an inflammation.

    The plantar fascia is a long ligament like structure that extends from the ball of the foot to the heel, so its job is to hold up the arch of the foot. Anything that increases the loads or strain on the arch of the foot is potentially going to strain the plantar fascia and result in plantar fasciitis. These risk factors include being overweight, being very active, tight calf muscles and poor foot function.

    The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain most commonly where it inserts into the heel bone that is worse after getting up from a period of rest, especially getting out of bed in the morning.

    Often the word ‘heel spur’ is used instead of plantar fasciitis, but heel spurs are not a problem. They occur normally in up to 20% of the population and are just incidental findings (see: Is a calcaneal spur in the plantar fascia?)

    The key to treating plantar fasciitis is to relieve the strain in the plantar fascia. This can be done initially with strapping to support the arch and later with foot orthotics (but not all foot orthotic designs can do this). Stretching of the calf muscles is important (and sometime night splints are prescribed to help stretch this). Other therapies, such as anti-inflammatory, physical therapy, shock wave therapy, Topaz, etc are all aimed at helping the healing, but the key to long term management is a reduction in the strain that caused it in the first place. If that strain cannot be reduced, then surgical management is , considered in a few cases.

    For that latest on plantar fasciitis, see Podiatry Arena.
    Previous questions here on Plantar Fasciitis.

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