If you suffer from heel pain, your doctor has likely mentioned the possibility of you having plantar fasciitis - but what is it? What caused you to develop this condition?
Let's begin by looking at the plantar fascia itself.
WHAT IS THE PLANTAR FASCIA?
The plantar fascia is a thin, webby ligament that connects your heel and the front of your foot.
Fascia is a connective tissue in the human body. It is composed of collagen bundles woven together in configurations specific to the function of each fascial structure. The fascia of the human body is connected in amazing and highly functional ways.
Under normal circumstances, the plantar fascia acts as a shock-absorbing support for the arch of your foot, and helps you walk, run, and jump. When tension and stress build on the plantar fascia, you can develop small tears.
Degeneration often occurs at the area of the most tension. This is on the inside part of the heel bone.
Repeated overstretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated and inflamed, causing the sharp, stabbing pain patients with plantar fasciitis are all too familiar with.
While doctors aren’t 100 percent sure what causes plantar fasciitis, there are some commonly accepted theories as to what can increase your risk of developing this condition.
As you age, the normal wear-and-tear of the muscles puts you at risk to develop conditions like plantar fasciitis.
The condition is most common in adults ages 40 to 60, and it is slightly more common in women than in men. Most connective tissues in the body become overburdened by oxidative stress and inflammation by the time this age is reached.
The chronic inflammation caused by diet, lifestyle, environment, and pollution eventually overwhelms the self-healing capacities of your fascia, and it starts to degenerate.
If you’re overweight or obese, you’re more at risk of developing plantar fasciitis. This is partly because of the extra strain put upon your plantar fascia by a heavier load, especially during sudden weight gain.
However, the main reason for any fascial breakdown and painful condition with obesity is due to the chronic inflammation caused by excess adipose, or fat.
Each adipose cell produces inflammatory cytokines on a continual basis and increases the oxidative stress and inflammation that are so damaging to the plantar fascia.
Pregnant women, particularly during the last trimester of their pregnancy, may experience bouts of plantar fasciitis. However, this usually goes away with rest, and of course after delivery.
Often, this is due to the changes in hormone balance and hydration associated with pregnancy.
Your job might be putting you at risk for developing plantar fasciitis. If you’re constantly on your feet in a very active job – such as factory workers or restaurant servers – you’re at risk for developing plantar fasciitis.
Likewise, if you are in an environment burdened by toxins and pollutants, you might be at risk.
Stress, too, can change the overall balance of cortisol and other chemicals in the human body and make the fascia more prone to pain.
Runners and active adults are more likely to develop plantar fascia problems.
Many runners may ignore slight pains in the feet, but if continued stress is put upon the plantar fascia the condition could worsen. Listen to your body, and don’t ignore developing pain.
Biomechanical stress is an important feature of this painful condition. By making small changes in the way the plantar fascia is compressed and stressed, the pain can be dramatically reduced.
4. OTHER FOOT PROBLEMS
If you have other existing foot problems – such as high arches or flat feet – you’re much more likely to develop plantar fasciitis. People with tight Achilles tendons may also develop plantar fascia pains, but this can be fixed with a good stretching regiment.
The plantar fascia has connections by fascial trains to the lumbosacral fascia, hamstrings, and even the shoulder and mid-back fascia. It is important that your physician looks at your entire condition and your entire body when making a determination of cause and treatment.
Simply wearing shoes with little to no arch support can result in plantar fasciitis. When the summer gets hot, people love to reach for just an average flip flop.
However, soft-soled flat shoes provide no support to your feet and might put extra pressure upon the ligaments of the foot, including the plantar fascia.
SEND PLANTAR FASCIITIS RUNNING
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Our goal is the powerful combination of improved biomechanics and natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant care of your feet.