The human foot might look simple enough, but it is actually quite complicated. The feet alone contain about one-quarter of all the bones in your body. Besides being complex, feet are also the main body part used for walking, standing, and running. With all the use the feet get, it's no wonder so many people experience problems with them. Plantar fasciitis is one such foot problem. This ailment of the foot affects two million people in the United States.
To help you better understand this foot condition, here are the answers to three frequently asked questions about plantar fasciitis.
1. What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
When a ligament in the foot called the plantar fascia gets strained or overused, it results in a condition called plantar fasciitis. The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain.
Some causes of plantar fasciitis include:
- Taking part in activities that place excessive stress on the heel, such as long-distance running and ballet.
- Having an occupation that involves prolonged standing on hard surfaces.
- Having an abnormal gait.
- Being obese or experiencing rapid weight gain.
- Wearing the wrong kind of footwear.
One more cause of plantar fasciitis is having flat feet or a high arch.
2. How Is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?
Fortunately, there are many things a person with plantar fasciitis can do at home to relieve heel pain. Besides ensuring the foot gets plenty of rest, people with plantar fasciitis can also perform stretching and strengthening exercises. Wearing shoes with well-cushioned mid-soles can also help. Some people may need to wear special inserts inside their shoes or wear custom orthotics.
Applying an ice pack can help greatly to reduce heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis. People with severe cases may need steroid injections. Others may need to undergo a surgical procedure called plantar fascia release.
3. What Complications Occur with Untreated Plantar Fasciitis?
It's important for people with plantar fasciitis to seek the right kind of treatment from a podiatrist. If left untreated, plantar fasciitis can cause chronic pain for the heel and the arch. This pain can spread to other parts of the lower extremities. When people experience chronic pain in their feet and lower extremities, it can change the way they walk.
An abnormal gait adds stress to other parts of the body, including the ankles, knees, hips, and even back. Complications such as this will also hinder a person from taking part in other certain activities and can even prevent them from working.
To learn more about plantar fasciitis, contact a doctor.