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What is the plantar fascia?

Heel pain in adults is caused by numerous causes, but the most common cause is a condition called plantar fasciitis. The pain from plantar fasciitis commonly occurs under the heel and the traditional sign is that the discomfort is worse when getting out of bed first thing each morning for those first few steps. After those first steps the pain does ease considerably, however it worsens again as the day goes on. The plantar fascia is a long ligament underneath the bottom of the foot which is responsible for supporting the arch of the foot, so plantar fasciitis is caused by there being a lot of stress on the arch of the foot. The key risk factors for plantar fasciitis are tight calf muscles, being obese and having increased levels of activity. Lower limb biomechanical problems that raises the load in the plantar fascia also are a factor in increasing the strain.

The primary approach to plantar fasciitis is pain relief with the use of ice following exercise and perhaps using anti-inflammatory and pain relief drugs. Low dye strapping can also be used for the short term to help with the pain. Foot orthoses could be used to reduce the load on the arch of the foot and improve any alignment issues that might be a factor in causing the problem. You should stretch the leg muscles as this is a significant risk. Splints to wear at night could also be used to assist with this stretching if required. Strengthening the muscles that also support the arch can also be advantageous since they take some stress off the plantar fascia. Over the long term, weight loss is crucial since this truly does produce a lot of strain in the foot. Whenever these kinds of techniques may not be working to well, then it's time for you to look at things like shockwave therapy or corticosteroid injection therapy. A final consideration would be surgical procedures.