Approximately 10% of people will experience plantar fasciitis at some point in their lives. That’s a lot of individuals!
Pain while walking can make life very hard and miserable. Therefore, problems relating to the heel of the foot can be extremely painful and limit movement to a considerable extent. One such condition is called ‘Plantar Fasciitis.’
It is known as one of the most common disorders that cause heel pain and is thought to affect almost one to two million people in the United States alone. There are many causes of heel pain, but this condition comes with one of the most severe symptoms. This syndrome develops as a result of numerous pathological processes; as a result, it is more of a destructive disorder than an inflammatory one.
It occurs in very active people (such as athletes), as well as the ones who lead a sedentary life. It can either be acute or chronic, but most literature suggests its nature to be of chronic origin. The mechanism is not well understood as the healing of parts that have undergone tissue destruction is still being researched.
Plantar Fasciitis arises due to pathology in the plantar fascia. It is a connective tissue present that is very broad. Its position has a lot of significance as it supports the arch of the foot. The way it is attached gives support to the longitudinal arch of the foot, helping in walking, skipping, running, jogging, and even hopping. One end of it is attached to the bone; calcaneus on the medial side, on a tubercle. Beyond that, it distributes into five bands and attaches to each of the five toes and their metatarsals. It then blends with the dermis, ligaments, and the sheath present in the toe.
The problems that arise causing damage to this plantar fascia are expected to arise in the later weight-bearing stages of life. Therefore the contributing factors are obesity, poor footwear, the presence of flat feet, and walking bare feet. Plantar fasciitis is therefore due to many degenerative processes happening in the feet. It has been seen that the tissue that undergoes destruction is filled with granulation tissue and has no proper framework. This further solidifies the theory that Plantar Fasciitis is a chronic disorder and it takes months and years for it to show symptoms. This condition develops due to the tears that develop in the plantar fascia due to continuous stress being faced by the tissue. There is a constant force of stretch of the fascia which is what results in the destruction and degeneration of the plantar fascia. This is what leads to extreme amounts of pain, both during rest and physical activity.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Without the use of clinical tests to focus on a specific ailment, the majority of symptoms that patients present with are sufficient to identify the condition. Commonly, the medial side of the heel will experience pain.
Pain at different sites of the feet gives diagnostic clues towards Plantar Fasciitis, as described below:
1) Bottom of the Heel Pain
Many patients that suffer from Plantar Fasciitis come with complaints of pain on the medial side of the feet. This is due to the attachment of the fascia more towards the medial than the lateral side. This pain is aggravated and felt especially resting for some time and the patient then experiences sharp pain by taking initial steps.