Plantar fasciitis

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Plantar fasciitis is a very common condition that affects all types of individuals. It is the result of degenerative changes in the plantar fascia that affect its flexibility and ability to carry a load. This causes pain on the sole of the foot, most often in the heel area.

fasciite-1What is the plantar fascia?

it is a strip of tissue that attaches at a single point at the heel and widens toward the front of the foot where it inserts right in front of each of the toes. This band of tissue similar to a ligament transfers force along the foot to lessen the amount of work performed by the feet muscles and to reduce impacts to the bottom of the foot. This means it is essential to everything we do standing up.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

One of the main causes is repeated trauma to the fascia from a shoe that is ill-suited, worn or fitted with an inappropriate orthotic, which increases tension to the fascia and injures it. Excessive intensity when starting a new sport or a drastic change in training surface can also produce the same result.

Another important factor that can lead to plantar fasciitis is a lack of flexibility in the muscles that attach to the Achilles tendon (gastrocnemius and soleus). These muscles attach at the back of the heel and if they are not flexible, they hold the heel back, which puts constant tension on the fascia and increases the load on it when walking.

Weakness in the foot muscles can also cause plantar fasciitis to develop by further increasing the workload on the plantar fascia.

Link between plantar fasciitis and heel spurs

A heel spur is a calcification on the tip of the fascia that attaches to the base of the heel; it is the result of chronic excess tension on the plantar fascia. So it can be said that it is a consequence of plantar fasciitis.

Treating plantar fasciitis

There are several ways to treat plantar fasciitis. Stretching the fascia and the muscles attached to the Achilles tendon (triceps surae) for more than 9 minutes a day in the acute phase can help get rid of it. Taping is a quick, effective way to decrease the symptoms as soon as they appear.

Ultrasound can also help reduce symptoms in the acute phase, along with icing and massaging the fascia.

In the chronic phase, the same techniques can help, but you must reactivate the healing phenomenon in the fascia often. To do this, radial shockwave therapy treatments are currently the most effective choice; the same is also true for heel spurs.

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