Plantar fasciitis involves an inflammatory process that affects the plantar fascia. This formation is a dense tissue bundle, which provides a smooth damping of the foot when walking. The plantar fasciitis of the foot area gives a person a lot of problems and discomfort, accompanied by pain and gait disturbance.
The human foot experiences a constant dynamic and static load. That is why it is so important to diagnose and treat this disease in a timely manner.
In most cases, the cause of this pathology is a trauma to the plantar fascia. Other causes of the disease include:
- Long stay in the same position. The risk group includes people whose work activity is associated with prolonged sitting or standing. Also, professional athletes (weightlifters, athletes, bodybuilders) are subject to plantar fasciitis.
- The presence of flatfoot. The flat arch of the foot gets an uneven load, as a result of which the fascia of the foot suffers.
- Wearing shoes without arch support. This type of shoe includes sports sneakers, flip flops and slates.
- Overweight. If a person has excessive body weight, the load on his feet increases several times.
- The presence of sports loads. Intensive training has a damaging effect on the foot apparatus. Plantar fasciitis is a common pathology among people professionally involved in sports.
- Congenital weakness of the ligaments of the foot.
- Age-related degenerative-dystrophic changes in the soft tissues of the foot.
- Disturbance of metabolic processes and blood circulation in the area of the sole. People with diabetes, gout and atherosclerosis are prone to this condition.
On how the fasciitis of the foot area proceeds, the symptoms and its treatment will be discussed in detail below.
A characteristic symptom of this disease is pain, which tends to increase with the load on the foot. The pain is most often localized on the plantar side of the heel, as well as on the back surface of the heel bone.
Pain with fasciitis makes itself felt in the morning time of the day. The intensity of pain often causes a person to stop moving and lay his legs on a hill. The inflammatory process in fasciitis affects both feet, but can also be one-sided.
The main symptoms of this disease include:
- discomfort and soreness in the heel area;
- limited movement;
- burning sensation in the heel region;
- foot deformity due to thickening of the plantar fascia;
- forced flexion of the toes (characteristic feature);
- the formation of the center of the seal on the plantar side of the heel.
A potential complication of fasciitis is the heel spur, which develops as a result of increased pressure on the foot. If a person has found signs of heel spurs, in 85% of cases we are talking about the formation of the inflammatory process in the plantar fascia.
The primary link in the diagnosis of this disease is the collection and analysis of complaints made by people. In this case, the doctor takes into account the nature of the pain, its duration, localization, and the presence of other symptoms of the disease. Also, it is important for the medical specialist to obtain information regarding the patient’s lifestyle and work activity.
After that, the doctor conducted a visual inspection and palpation of the feet. The important point is the presence of flatfoot or other pathologies of the musculoskeletal system. The following studies are used as additional diagnostic methods:
- x-ray examination;
- ultrasound diagnostics;
- magnetic resonance or computed tomography.
X-ray examination may show bone outgrowth in the heel area (spur), as well as foci of calcium deposits.
Therapy for this disease includes medication, physiotherapy and surgery. In this case, the latter method is an extreme measure, and is used with the ineffectiveness of conservative therapy.
Drug therapy for plantar fasciitis includes the following groups of drugs:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These funds are mandatory to receive, as the basis of the pathological process in this disease is the inflammatory process.
- Painkillers (analgesic) drugs. If a person is worried about severe pain during physical exertion or at rest, then pain medication should be prescribed.
- Ointments and creams for topical use, containing anti-inflammatory component.
Methods of apparatus physiotherapy are widely used in the complex treatment of this disease. Such techniques possess high efficiency:
- Shock-wave technique. This type of physiotherapy is the effect of high-frequency acoustic waves on the soft tissues of the foot. As a result of such an impact, the local blood circulation improves, the intensity of the inflammatory process decreases, pain and discomfort are eliminated.
- Magnetotherapy. The impact of the magnetic field has anti-edematous, anti-inflammatory and tonic effect.
- Phonophoresis. This technique is complex, and consists of the simultaneous effects of physical and chemical factors. When phonophoresis is the introduction of hydrocortisone ointment by ultrasonic waves. This combination provides deep penetration of the components of the ointment into the soft tissue of the heel area. Hydrocortisone ointment has anti-inflammatory, anti-edema and analgesic effect.
Recommendations for each technique are given to each person individually. A pronounced therapeutic effect is achieved only under the condition of simultaneous use of drugs and physiotherapeutic procedures.
If conservative therapy does not bring the expected result, the person is recommended to undergo surgery. Fasciitis surgery is performed under local anesthesia. For this purpose, spinal anesthesia is used, which causes a temporary loss of sensation in the lower extremities.
Modern technology and the latest equipment allow medical professionals to perform short-term and high-precision operations. For the surgical treatment of this disease, endoscopy techniques are used. During the operation, the doctor gently crosses the plantar fascia, and with the help of a special tool eliminates bone outgrowth in the heel bone (spur).
The duration of the rehabilitation period after this intervention varies depending on the neglect of the pathological process. Some people who have undergone surgical treatment of fasciitis may face such complications:
- traumatic damage to the nerve trunks during surgery;
- increased pain syndrome;
- the formation of a benign nervous tumor (neuroma);
- prolonged healing of the wound or its suppuration.
With the development of one of the complications, the person will need additional drug therapy and additional rehabilitation.
Any disease is much easier to prevent than to deal with its consequences and complications. In order to prevent the appearance of fasciitis, it is recommended to follow these tips:
- use comfortable orthopedic shoes that have an instep or good cushioning or insoles.
- at least 1 time in 2 seasons it is recommended to change sports shoes;
- fight overweight;
- do not exercise sports jogging on the asphalt surface;
- train the flexibility of the ankle ligaments.
The treatment of fasciitis, especially in chronic form, becomes more and more challenging every year. Requires massive drug therapy in combination with physiotherapy procedures. If a person began to hurt his leg and began to disturb the discomfort in the foot area, he was recommended to immediately seek medical help and undergo a comprehensive examination.