Plantar Fasciitis Q & A
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis involves pain and inflammation of the band of tissue running across the sole of the foot, the plantar fascia. A major cause of heel pain, many people with plantar fasciitis experience severe pain with the first few steps in the morning after getting out of bed. Plantar fasciitis pain is also exacerbated when walking after sitting for an extended period. Essentially, the pain becomes intense when placing weight onto the foot. Pain on the posterior aspect of the heel often indicates achilles tendinitis and pain on the underside of the heel is an indicator of plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis sometimes occurs because of wear and tear over the years. It can also affect anyone who stand for many hours each day. Often, pain is more intense when you first stand up or start walking after getting out of bed or sitting for an extended period.
What are the causes and risk factors of plantar fasciitis?
Sometimes the cause of plantar fasciitis is not known, but there are risk factors involved that contribute to this pain. Some of these risk factors include:
- Walking or standing on hard surfaces numerous hours a day
- Obesity/extra weight
- Tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles
- A history of running, dancing, or exercising (which can cause repetitive strain on your foot/heel)
- High arches
- Flat feet
- Unsupportive shoes
What are the treatment options for plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis, although painful, is not always a serious condition. Studies have shown that acupuncture combined with herbal medicine foot baths is a proven and effective therapeutic method for the elimination of plantar fasciitis. Most patients respond well to acupuncture treatments, some acupuncture treatments can add electronic stim to help disburse the pain from the immediate area, and of course Joseph can suggest some stretching exercises to help strengthen your lower leg muscles and assist to stabilize your feet.
Your podiatrist may also suggest you wear more supportive footwear or custom-made foot orthotics to help support your arches and relieve strain. Additionally, taking a break from the activity that is contributing to your plantar fasciitis pain whenever possible can help alleviate your symptoms. Icing your heel/arch during points of inflammation can also help.