Plantar Fasciitis: Understanding the Causes and Treatment Options

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Plantar Fasciitis: Understanding the Causes and Treatment Options

February 7, 2023

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain that can make it difficult to walk, run, and participate in other activities. If you’re struggling with plantar fasciitis, you’re probably wondering what you can do to find relief.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

To understand how to treat plantar fasciitis, you should first understand what causes it. One source of heal pain could be the change in weather. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, there is seasonal variation in the prevalence of plantar fasciitis. Using Google Trends data, the authors found that search queries related to plantar fasciitis were highest in the summer months, with a peak in July. This may be due to the increased outdoor activity and barefoot exposure that occurs during the summer.

In addition to considering the time of year, it may also be helpful to pay attention to your footwear. If you often wear shoes that don’t support your feet or have enough cushion it could be contributing to your heal pain. A prospective study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery found that maximalist athletic shoes, which have a thick, cushioned sole, could help manage your early-stage plantar fasciitis as part of a comprehensive treatment. These shoes may help reduce impact on the heel during activities such as walking and running.

It’s also important to consider foot posture and ankle joint mobility when managing plantar fasciitis. A study published in the journal Footwear Science found that clinical measures of foot posture and ankle joint movement did not differ between adults with and without plantar heel pain. This suggests that these factors may not have a significant impact on the development of plantar fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatments

On the other hand, the stiffness of the foot during the push-off phase of walking has been linked to the development of plantar fasciitis. A study published in the Journal of Biomechanics found that when you stiffen your foot while walking, you are actively contracting your muscle. This action disputes the windlass mechanism theory that suggests that your plantar fascia helps “wind” your toes upwards during walking. This suggests that targeted muscle training could help you manage your plantar fasciitis.

Gastrocnemius tightness (or the tightness in the calf muscles) has also been linked to the severity of plantar fasciitis. A study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research found a correlation between gastrocnemius tightness and heel pain severity in individuals with plantar fasciitis. If you’re struggling to manage your heel pain, you might benefit from stretching exercises and other interventions aimed at reducing tightness in your calves.

Another common way to treat plantar fasciitis is with custom insoles, but do they actually work? A randomized controlled trial published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders compared custom insoles to sham (placebo) insoles and to the usual care provided by a general practitioner (GP) in patients with plantar heel pain. The results showed that custom insoles were more effective at reducing pain and improving function than sham insoles or GP-led usual

How to move forward

Finally, it’s important to consider the lived experience and attitudes of individuals with plantar fasciitis. A qualitative study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research explored the experiences and attitudes of people with plantar heel pain. The results showed that individuals with plantar fasciitis often experienced frustration, difficulty participating in activities, and feelings of helplessness. Healthcare professionals need to consider the emotional impact of plantar fasciitis and provide support and coping strategies to individuals with this condition.

In conclusion, there are many factors to consider in the treatment and prevention of plantar fasciitis. Seasonal variation, footwear, foot posture, ankle mobility, muscle training, and gastrocnemius tightness may all play a role in the development and management of this condition. Custom insoles may be effective in reducing pain and improving function, and it is important to consider the emotional impact of plantar fasciitis on individuals. As always, it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment. Don’t let heel pain hold you back – take control and find the relief you deserve.

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