Plantar means the bottom of the foot, and its fascia is the band of connective tissue running from your heel bone to the front of your foot. Ever feel pain in the bottom of your heel, like a tearing sensation, for no apparent reason? Have you heard of plantar fasciitis? The pain is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the band of connective tissue running from your heel bone to the front of your foot. This connective tissue helps support your foot’s arch and give it shape. When your foot strikes the ground and then pushes off, this tissue aids in stability. When there is excessive tension in this area, inflammation and pain occur. Taking a simple trip down anatomy lane will help us understand that the muscles above the foot and the shape of the foot below contribute to its development. Your calf muscles connect to the heel bone through the Achilles tendon. The tendon pulls on the bone from above when the calf muscles are tight, stretching the fascia which causes strain. The arch itself also contributes tension to the fascia, so people with high arches are especially prone to plantar fasciitis. The common cause of plantar fasciitis relates to faulty structure of the foot.
THE 4 MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS OF PLANTAR FASCIITIS
Below are the four most common indicators of plantar fasciitis. Knowing what to look for can help make it easier to determine whether your symptoms align with plantar fasciitis.
1. Pain on the bottom of the heel
- Those with plantar fasciitis often describe their heel pain.
- Pain is often worse in the morning, especially during the first few minutes of walking around.
- Pain occurs for no apparent reason and is sharp or searing
- Pain feels like a tearing sensation in the bottom of the heel
- Pain exacerbates when standing up after sitting for a long time
- After sitting or lying down there may be throbbing pain
- Soreness radiating up the leg
- Pain also encompasses the arch of the foot
2. Pain in the arch of the foot
Arch pain, or arch strain, is caused when the plantar fascia is stretched away from the heel excessively. The arch pain can feel like a burning or a stabbing pain. Overly flat feet or high-arched feet are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. It is highly recommended that people with flat feet use orthotics and try to refrain from wearing high-heeled shoes.
3. Pain worsens after rest
When your feet are hurting, try taking some time to note exactly when the pain is at its foulest.
- Is it in the morning, when you first put weight on your feet?
- Does it begin to get better after a few minutes of walking?
- Does it then progressively gets worse throughout the day?
4. Increasing pain
Jogging, running, or even walking on pavement, sidewalks, gym floors, or other hard, flat surfaces strains the plantar fascia. When you’re doing the same high-impact or stressful activities repeatedly, plantar fasciitis becomes worse because the condition is being agitated, causing an increase in foot pain.
UNTREATED PLANTAR FASCIITIS COMPLICATIONS
Plantar fasciitis, if left untreated, could perpetually lead to more significant problems:
Chronic Heel Pain
You can develop chronic heel pain, which can cause damage by changing the way you walk. This can cause injury to your legs, knees, hips, and back, resulting in much greater issues throughout your entire body.
Being active is an important part of our lives, especially those who derive mental, physical, and spiritual happiness from activity. A loss of mobility can affect overall health as well as hinder you from performing daily tasks which can affect the quality of your life.
Pain in the foot can cause people to alter their posture. Consequently, this can cause the joints to wear unevenly or become stiff. It is common for muscle tension and soreness to appear.
When plantar fascia and heel pain is ignored over time, back pain may occur. As a result, this may make you more susceptible to (like with joint pain) changing your posture or the way you walk. Changing posture to compensate for the pain or avoid it altogether can have effects all the way up to the neck, because the bones are all connected and impacted by movement and activity.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
It could take a while for plantar fasciitis to begin showing obvious symptoms. Paying attention to which of these specifics describe your particular heel pain can help a great deal with a diagnosis. Call your doctor if you experience:
- Fever alongside redness, swelling, warmth, or tingling in your heel
- Ongoing pain when no weight is put on your heel
- A heel injury resulting in pain when weight is put on the heel
- Persistent pain for over a week after trying home treatments such as ice, rest, and over-the-counter pain medicine
Here at Illinois Foot and Ankle Clinic, we’re here to help alleviate your pain. Your feet are your foundation! It is important to keep them healthy, so let us help you make the most of yours.