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Heel Pain - Plantarfasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. This condition often causes stabbing pain in the heel, particularly during the first steps in the morning or after long periods of rest.

Causes:

  • Overuse or Strain: Excessive pressure on the feet, often from activities like running or standing for prolonged periods, can strain the plantar fascia.

  • Foot Structure: Flat feet or high arches can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.

  • Improper Footwear: Ill-fitting shoes or those lacking proper arch support may exacerbate the condition.

  • Age: Plantar fasciitis is more common in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60.

  • Obesity: Excess weight can put additional stress on the plantar fascia.

 

Symptoms:

  • Heel Pain: The hallmark symptom is pain in the bottom of the heel, particularly with the first steps in the morning or after periods of inactivity.

  • Stiffness: The foot may feel stiff and tight, especially after rest.

  • Swelling: Some individuals may experience swelling along the bottom of the foot.

  • Tenderness: The heel may be tender to the touch.

 

Diagnosis and Treatment:

  • Clinical Examination: A podiatrist will conduct a thorough examination, including assessing the patient's medical history and performing physical tests to diagnose plantar fasciitis.

  • Imaging Tests: X-rays or other imaging studies may be ordered to rule out other potential causes of heel pain.

 

Treatments:

  • Rest: Adequate rest is crucial to allow the inflamed tissue to heal.

  • Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation.

  • Stretching Exercises: Specific stretching exercises can alleviate tension in the plantar fascia.

  • Orthotic Inserts: Customised orthotic inserts can provide support and redistribute pressure on the foot.

  • Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be recommended to manage pain and inflammation.

  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can guide patients through exercises to strengthen the muscles supporting the foot.

  • Corticosteroid Injections: In severe cases, corticosteroid injections may be considered to reduce inflammation.

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