The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue attached from the calcaneum (heel bone) to the metatarsals. It emerges from the tuberosity of the calcaneus to get attached to the head of each metatarsal.
It is flexible and elastic in nature, increasing to its maximum length during forwarding propulsion of the foot.
There are three parts of the plantar fascia, named medial component, central fascia\component, and the lateral component.
The various functions of plantar fascia are:
- It supports the arch of the foot.
- It helps the muscles and tendons of the foot to keep in place.
- It contributes to attach skin with the underlying muscles and tendons.
- It greatly aids in propulsive movements such as walking and maintaining the gait.
- It provides the ‘windlass’ effect on the foot.
Plantar fasciitis is a medical condition in which plantar fascia of the foot is inflamed, irritated or swollen.
It causes pain and tenderness on the sole and heel. So, it disrupts the normal function of the foot as it causes straining of the tendons and muscles. It also damages the arch of the foot, mainly longitudinal arch, causing discomfort to the patient.
The major cause of plantar fasciitis is prolonged standing or walking. It is also said that minor repetitive trauma to the sole at the insertion of the fascia causes its degeneration.
- Pain experienced in the sole of the affected foot, specifically, in the heel, making it difficult for the patient to step down the foot on the ground.
- Swelling and irritation.
- Resting the foot is the primary, basic treatment for any painful disease. Rest may give the plantar fascia enough time to recover from the trauma.
- The inflammation and irritation are relieved by using NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), splinting and changing and adjusting shoes.
- Another treatment is used to alleviate the underlying cause of the disease. For this matter, different approaches are made such as autologous blood injection, platelet- rich plasma (PRP) injection, extracorporeal shock- wave therapy (ESWT), nitroglycerin patches. The therapy is carried out for roughly 6 weeks after which if the pain persists, additional help is required by an ankle
- Extreme treatment may include surgical intervention.
- Many stretching exercises are helpful for relieving the stress on the plantar fascia to reduce pain and inflammation. It also helps in increasing mobility of the foot.
- Support the feet with the right shoes for plantar fasciitis
The prognosis of plantar fasciitis is usually remarkable. The symptoms like pain and inflammation might vary from person to person and must take different time to heal according to the use of the patient.
The patient whose job is to stand for the prolonged amount of time might experience a greater amount of discomfort for longer periods.
Roughly, 2 to 3 weeks are required for the pain to go away. Whereas, the main cause of the disease which is soft tissue damage may take up to 6 weeks for complete repairing process.
Nevertheless, the correct choice of medicines, exercises and techniques may speed up the recovery process to completely heal the symptoms and the primary reason.