Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It occurs when the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes gets inflamed. Symptoms include a stabbing pain at the bottom of the foot near the heel. It generally occurs when you haven’t walked for a while, such as first thing in the morning. As more movement of the foot occurs through walking the pain normally decreases but could return after long periods of standing or upon rising from a seated position.
Plantar fasciitis is common in persons between the ages of 40-60 but can be brought about at any age with certain types of exercise, such as running, jumping, ballet dancing, aerobic dance. Plantar fasciitis can also be the result of anatomic deviations from normal, such as being flat footed, a high arch, or an abnormal walking pattern. Obesity is also known to put extra stress on the plantar fascia. Occupations which involve mostly standing can also damage the plantar fascia leading to plantar fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis is tough to treat. Often times treatment takes several months. Rest, ice, and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce inflammation and pain. If pain isn’t responding to NSAIDs, a steroid injection can ease pain for about a month and will keep inflammation down for even longer. Physical therapy might be recommended if none of the other modes of treatment worked. From this point forward, treatment gets more aggressive.
Shock-wave therapy, where sound waves literally “shock” the plantar fascia to stimulate blood flow and help tissue to heal; pain is stopped from the stunning affect it has on the nerves.
Tenex procedure, like an “arthroscopy” of the foot there is a small incision and an ultrasound is used to target and remove scar tissue. Life gets back to normal in as little as 10 days.
The last resort is surgery, where the plantar fascia is removed from the heal bone. Although this can be done as an outpatient, healing takes longer with the use of a splint or boot and no weight bearing, then limited weight bearing and things will hopefully progress to unrestricted weight bearing.
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that is difficult to treat and can have a long healing period. Time away from work can easily cost employers thousands in lost time and treatment bills for just one employee. Encouraging healthy habits can lessen the incidence of plantar fasciitis in the workplace, which in turn can lower the cost of lost time and treatment. Examples of healthy practices include:
Proactive involvement in prevention can cost little as compared to what it saves.
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