The first and most noticeable symptom of plantar fasciitis is often a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel. It can be stronger when you first get out of bed and start walking, gradually easing up throughout the day, or it could be a constant pain as you go about your daily activities. Either way, this pain can eventually affect mobility and make getting through those tasks difficult.
The first step to treating plantar fasciitis is to diagnose it. To accurately diagnose this condition, it’s helpful to take a look at the most common risk factors in addition to your current symptoms. If you have any of the following risk factors, be sure to discuss them when you meet with your specialist at Silicon Valley Orthopaedics.
As we get older, we are more susceptible to inflammation in general, not just in our feet. Plantar fasciitis is quite common in people between the ages of 40 and 60. After the age of 60, we tend to be more sedentary, so fewer people are diagnosed after age 60. However, those under 40 or over 60 can still be diagnosed with the condition. Age often affects the onset or severity of plantar fasciitis for patients who have other risk factors as well.
Even a few extra pounds can greatly affect your feet, as well as the joints in your lower body. When you consider that the additional weight will be compounded over months or years of activity, you can see how it can start to cause real problems. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can reduce your risk factor for plantar fasciitis. If you’ve already been diagnosed, then losing a few pounds may improve your symptoms.
It’s important to understand how certain exercise activities, or not exercising at all, can affect the health of your feet. Certain exercises put more stress on the heel and can cause more inflammation. These include running or jogging as well as dance, such as ballet or for aerobic exercise.
However, a lack of exercise can also increase your risk for plantar fasciitis. With a sedentary lifestyle, the tissue that connects the heel to your toes can start to tighten up or shorten. Then, when you do become more active, it can become inflamed, causing the signature symptoms of plantar fasciitis. You should always follow your doctor’s recommendations for daily activity.
Just as exercise activities can lead to plantar fasciitis, so can activities you perform at work. If you are on your feet for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces, it greatly increases your risk. People who stand and walk for more than a few hours every day while at work should make sure to wear supportive shoes and take advantage of work breaks to sit down and give their feet a rest.
Sometimes we are naturally predisposed to a condition like plantar fasciitis because of the shape of our feet. Having flat feet or high arches can cause abnormal foot mechanics, which over time, can cause chronic inflammation. Other things may cause an unnatural walking pattern, including conditions or injuries of the ankles, knees or hips.
If you are experiencing heel pain that has limited your mobility or reduced your quality of life, it’s time to talk to a specialist. During your examination, a doctor will go over your risk factors as well as your symptoms to accurately diagnose the source of your pain. They will also create a personalized treatment plan that can help get you back to your usual routine and enjoying your favorite activities. Contact us today at Silicon Valley Orthopaedics to schedule your appointment.