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Plantar fasciitis: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment

Plantar fasciitis is a condition in which the tissue of the sole of the foot is inflamed, which usually causes pain in the sole of the foot, a burning sensation and discomfort, especially when waking up or after performing some type of exercise with impact on the foot, like walking or running. This situation is more common in women who wear high heels for a long time, runners and overweight people.

The treatment for plantar fasciitis is slow and can last about 1 year to 18 months, but it is important to decrease pain and improve the person’s quality of life. Some options are painkillers, anti-inflammatories and physical therapy that can be done with devices such as ultrasound and shock waves, for example.

Main symptoms

The most characteristic symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the middle of the heel when stepping on the ground right after waking up, but other symptoms that may be present are:

  • Pain in the sole of the foot that worsens when wearing high heels or running;
  • Burning sensation in the sole of the foot;
  • Feeling of ‘sand’ when pressing where the fascia is located.

Symptoms are related to thickening of the fascia due to inflammation and the presence of fibrosis and calcification in this tissue. The diagnosis can be made by the orthopedist or physiotherapist, taking into account only the symptoms and performing specific tests that cause pain exactly in the affected area. Imaging tests such as x-rays do not directly show fascitis, but they can be useful to rule out other diseases.

Causes of plantar fasciitis

The causes of plantar fasciitis can be related to long walks or runs, with the use of very hard shoes, in addition to being related to the fact that the individual’s foot is very hollow and that he is overweight. The combination of these factors can contribute to the inflammation of this tissue, which if left untreated can cause severe pain, making daily activities more difficult.

The use of high heels continuously leads to decreased mobility of the Achilles tendon, which also favors fascitis. It is also common that in addition to the fasciitis, the heel spur is also present, which is characterized by severe pain in that region. Know other causes of pain in the sole of the foot.

How is the treatment

The treatment for plantar fasciitis can be done with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, under the indication of the orthopedist, and physiotherapy, where the goal will be to deflate the region, improving blood circulation and undoing the nodules formed in the tendons, if applicable.

Other useful tips for the treatment of plantar fasciitis can be:

  • Apply an ice pack for 15 minutes to the soles of your feet, about 2 times a day;
  • Use an insole indicated by the orthopedist or physiotherapist;
  • Stretch the sole of the foot and the “leg potato” muscle, remaining under a slightly inclined surface, such as the rise of a ramp, for example. Stretching is done well when you feel the “potato” of the leg stretching. This positioning must be maintained for at least 1 minute, 3 to 4 times in a row.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that adequately support your feet, avoiding the use of hard shoes.

This injury is very common in runners due to the use of running shoes that are not suitable for running or the prolonged use of running shoes for a long time. It is usually recommended to use running shoes for only 600 km, and must be changed after this period, however, it is possible to use these shoes for day to day, being only contraindicated in training and running events.

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