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Plantar Fasciitis Demystified: Causes, Symptoms, and Effective Treatments

05 Dec 2023

By: Yeo Boon Kiak


by Yeo Boon Kiak, Podiatry Quest

Plantar fasciitis 

Plantar fasciitis, commonly known as heel pain, ranks among the prevalent foot conditions. This ailment involves heightened pressure and strain on the thick band of tissue, the plantar fascia, spanning the underside of the foot. Learn more about its causes, symptoms, and effective treatments to alleviate discomfort and enhance foot health.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis originates from the overuse and stress on the plantar fascia—a robust tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes, primarily concentrated at the base of the big toe. This crucial band supports the foot’s arch and absorbs shocks during activities like walking and running.

Symptoms and Risk Factors

Manifesting as a stabbing pain beneath the heel, particularly pronounced during the first steps in the morning, plantar fasciitis tends to subside with movement but can intensify after extended periods of standing or upon standing up after sitting.

Several risk factors contribute to its development:

  1. Activity: Engaging in high-impact activities like running, hiking, or dancing, especially with a sudden increase in intensity, can contribute to plantar fasciitis.
  2. Foot Mechanics: Flat feet, high arches, or irregular walking patterns affect load distribution during standing and walking, increasing stress on the plantar fascia.
  3. Weight Gain: Excess weight places additional stress on the plantar fascia during weight-bearing activities.
  4. Occupation: Professions requiring prolonged standing, such as sales, teaching, or factory work, elevate the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

Effective Treatment Strategies

Addressing plantar fasciitis involves a multi-faceted approach:

  1. Rest: Adequate rest allows the injured fascia to heal.
  2. Proper Footwear: Choosing appropriate footwear supports foot health and reduces strain.
  3. Foot Orthotics: Customized orthotic devices can aid in correcting foot mechanics and alleviating stress on the plantar fascia.
  4. Stretching and Strengthening: Targeted exercises for the foot and ankle muscles contribute to recovery.
  5. Shockwave Therapy: Progressive treatments like shockwave therapy may offer relief by promoting healing and reducing inflammation.

By gaining insights into the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for plantar fasciitis, individuals can proactively manage this common foot condition and enhance overall foot well-being.