|Medical X-rays Plantar fasciitis. Increased density in talocalcaneal joint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Plantar fasciitis, sometimes referred to as plantar fasciosis is a painful condition about the heel.
The plantar fascia is a soft tissue structure that originates at the bottom of the heel and runs to the base of the toes. It is a thick fibrous or leather-like band running across the bottom of your foot. It sometimes is referred to as a tendon or ligament. However, since it has no muscles attached to it it’s not a tendon, nor is it a ligament, which holds bones together.
When you walk or run the fascia tightens up like a leather belt assisting the heel bone motion that affects positioning of the foot. Many types of imbalances in the feet, and even the lower extremity, may cause the fascia to have excessive tension on it when you stand, walk or run. Sometimes, even shoes can cause it to have excessive tension on it if they are not ideally fitted. For example, too short of a shoe can increase the tension on the plantar fascia.
Over time, excess tension on the fascia can cause it to become inflamed, usually at the heel bone area or sometimes along the entire structure along the bottom of the foot itself. Typical symptoms include pain after long periods of standing or when standing after periods of rest. When you get off your feet, rest or sleep, the fascia may become inflamed as it is trying to heal itself. Inflammation is a first stage of healing. The problem is that resting just overnight or sitting down for a short while is not long enough for it to completely heal. Typically, you are able to “Walk It Off” in a short period of time. However, you are exerting excess tension and tearing on it, which in turn causes repeated inflammation and pain. If not treated, the fascia may degenerate and become chronically painful.
You may have heard or read that there are many treatments for it, but there does not seem to be one specific treatment that is 100% effective in all cases. I believe the reason lies within two areas. One, due to some systemic condition, you may not have the capability to thoroughly heal. Two, the mechanics of locomotion have not been adequately addressed. Both can be very complicated in determining how to adequately address. However, treatments, in my opinion should focus on addressing the inflammation AND the cause of the problem itself, which is the mechanics of locomotion.
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