There’s a long band of shock-absorbing tissue on the bottom of your foot called plantar fascia. It’s a pretty tough part of your anatomy, and it can take a fair amount of pressure. After all, it was designed to keep the spring in your step despite supporting the weight of your entire body.
But over time or under excessive or repeated stress, this tough band begins to stretch and tear — a condition called plantar fasciitis. Most people describe the resulting pain as stabbing or throbbing, worse in the morning and after exercising, and progressively worse over time.
If that sounds like something you’d like to avoid, we’re with you. At Dan Preece, DPM, & Darren Groberg, DPM, we advocate preventive measures to avoid injury and illness whenever possible. That’s why, as part of the Utah Musculoskeletal Specialists practice in Salt Lake City, Utah, we offer comprehensive foot and ankle care to our patients throughout the area.
The best way to avoid the pain and inconvenience of plantar fasciitis is to know what causes it and puts you at risk. Here are the top-five factors that increase your chances of getting plantar fasciitis.
1. Getting older
The hard truth is that the older you get, the weaker your muscles and other tissues become, and this includes your plantar fascia. Although you can develop plantar fasciitis at any age, it’s most common in the 40-60 crowd.
2. Being overweight
Whether you’ve been heavy your whole life or recently gained a lot of weight (even in the form of muscle), you’re asking a lot of your feet. Excess pressure strains the plantar fascia tissues beyond their capability, so they give way.
3. Exercising incorrectly or too frequently
Certain exercises put you at a higher risk for plantar fasciitis than others. In particular, high-impact activities like dancing and running put a lot of stress on your plantar fascia.
For example, if you’re a runner, and a normal day includes a three-mile jaunt, your plantar fascia will flex and stretch several thousand times during your workout sessions. If the tissue becomes inflamed and sustains tears, you’ll feel significant pain afterward.
Likewise, if you suddenly increase your distance or speed or change your terrain, you increase your risk for developing plantar fasciitis.
4. Doing nothing at all
Leading a sedentary life can also lead to plantar fasciitis. When you sit in a chair all day and don’t use your feet, your plantar fascia tissues get tighter, shorter, and less flexible. Then, when you do get up and go exercise, they tear easily.
5. Anatomical issues
Sometimes, plantar fasciitis stems from problems with the way your body is formed. Here are some anatomical issues that can affect your plantar fascia:
- High arches
- Weak flexor muscles in your feet
- Tight Achilles tendons
- Two different leg lengths
Anything that puts excess stress on the bowstring band of tissue at the bottom of your feet is considered a risk factor for plantar fasciitis.
When prevention efforts fail
If your best efforts to identify and mitigate your plantar fasciitis risk factors have let you down, and you find yourself hobbling around searching for relief, we can help.
First, we run diagnostic tests to confirm that you have plantar fasciitis and not some other cause of foot or heel pain. Often, ice, a few targeted stretches, and the right footwear resolves mild plantar fasciitis symptoms. The next step is to wear custom orthotics in your shoes.
If you still need next-level pain relief, it’s typically because these remedies aren’t decreasing the inflammation sufficiently, and the poor blood flow to the plantar fascia makes healing difficult. In this case, we offer some highly effective therapies to reduce inflammation and stimulate your body’s own healing resources:
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
- Stem cell therapy
- Multiwave locked system (MLS) laser therapy
Using these advanced technologies, Dr. Preece and Dr. Groberg tap into your body’s natural healing response mechanisms to speed up recovery and reduce pain.
If you want more information about how to treat plantar fasciitis now or avoid it in the future, schedule an appointment by requesting one online or calling our office today.