One of the leading causes of heel pain is a condition called plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue along the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes, and this tissue can become swollen or inflamed due to many reasons – including structural issues of the foot, wearing the wrong shoes, an injury, your occupation, or frequent running or jumping.
When the plantar fascia is inflamed, you feel the pain in your heel. It, therefore, hurts to walk or to put pressure on your foot. Plantar fasciitis is acute if the inflammation is triggered by an injury, and it is chronic if it goes away and comes back progressively worse.
Who Is at Risk of Plantar Fasciitis?
Those who have the following descriptors are at a higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis:
Most patients with plantar fasciitis belong to the 40-70 age bracket. There are natural age-related changes to the feet as we advance in age, especially sagging of the arches and less flexibility – which makes us more prone to developing foot pain because there is less structural support.
Physically Demanding Occupation
Those who are in highly physical jobs that require them to be on their feet a lot can also get plantar fasciitis. People of any age who are in security, the military, or retail are particularly prone to this condition, especially if the ground or flooring they tend to walk on is a hard surface.
Poor Foot Biomechanics
Too-high arches or flat feet can both increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis. These structural issues in the foot put extra stress on the plantar fascia while walking, and this can eventually cause inflammation.
Women are prone to plantar fasciitis, especially during pregnancy. As the woman’s center of gravity changes with the weight of the baby in front, it can affect weight distribution and thereby adds pressure on your plantar fascia, pushing it downward. There is also a natural loosening of the ligaments and joints during pregnancy (to prepare the woman’s body for childbirth) that contributes to the aches and pains in the lower extremities, including the feet.
Being overweight puts added pressure on your plantar fascia. The heel pain you are feeling is more severe due to the extra weight adding more pressure on your joints and ligaments. Talk to your doctor about an easy method of losing weight gradually that can work for you, so you will feel less heel pain.
Repetitive stress and pounding of the feet due to running or jumping can also cause plantar fasciitis, so this is common in both amateur and professional athletes. Lack of proper physical conditioning, including warming up and cooling down, can cause undue stress on the feet.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment in Central Maryland
Our podiatrists at the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland Foot & Ankle Care are highly trained and experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of foot and ankle conditions, including foot pain and heel pain. If you suspect that you have plantar fasciitis, come to any of our podiatric clinics in Central Maryland so we can help you get back on your feet.
To schedule a consultation, call us today at (410) 644-1880 or toll-free at (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663) or fill out our online appointment request form now. We look forward to serving you.