Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of the heel pain caused by excessive wear to the plantar fascia, a tissue band connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes.
Causes of Plantar fasciitis :
Because of the high incidence in runners, this condition is also termed as jogger’s heel and it is hypothesized to be caused by tissue breakdown of the plantar fascia. The condition is commonly associated with long periods of weight bearing, a sudden increase in weight and over activity. The condition may also result in a heel spur on the heel bone, in which case it is the underlying condition, and not the spur itself, which produces the pain.
Patients usually complain of lower heel pain with the first few steps taken in the morning or after long periods of rest. Initially the pain reduces with ambulation but then increases throughout the activity, especially of weight bearing. Some patients may present limping while others prefer to walk on their toes.
Rest is the foremost treatment for plantar fascitis. Keeping off the foot should be resorted until the inflammation vanishes away.
Initial home treatments shall be of heel stretching exercises and stretching muscles of the back of the lower leg i.e. calf muscles. Stretching should be continued daily throughout the rehabilitation phase and long after the injury has healed.
Application of ice to the feet for short duration or cold therapy like mud to the feet, cold foot bath can be done to reduce the inflammation and pain. Though oil massage is not applicable on the heels during the acute inflammatory condition, a regular derivative massage will be of help to improve the condition. Deep massage over the calf muscle will help keep the muscles of the foot in good condition. Hot footbath for 10 minutes, three to four times a day at least can also be given to relieve the symptoms. Weight loss should be a part of the initial treatment if the patient is obese and this is best achieved by swimming and yoga practices (except standing postures). These practices are important, as they do not place more pressure on the balls of the feet. Acupressure and Acupuncture treatments under an expert guidance are very often successful in reducing pain and inflammation.
Fasting for a minimum of three days on coconut water or honey water is indicated during the acute inflammatory condition to reduce the symptoms as it gives physiologic rest to the body. Enema should be advocated to void off the toxins accumulated in the system during fasting. Followed by fasting, a raw/ Satvik diet regimen is equally important and should be resorted to recuperate from the condition.
Maintaining good flexibility around the ankle is probably the best way to prevent plantar fasciitis. Shoes, which are stable with shock-absorbing soles or shoe inserts, should be used. It is better to avoid open-back shoes and sandals.