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Risk Factors And Treatments For Plantar Fasciitis

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Plantar fasciitis causes severe pain on the bottom of the foot. While the pain is typically confined to the heel area, it can occur anywhere on the sole. The plantar fascia is a thick band of fibrous tissue that helps support your arch. While anyone can develop this inflammatory condition, certain factors may heighten risk. Here are some common risk factors and treatment options your podiatrist may recommend.

Risk Factors

Obesity is one of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis. Being overweight puts pressure on the plantar fascia, causing pain and swelling. Not only does the excess weight physically stress the plantar fascia, but being overweight is thought to trigger both systemic and local inflammatory responses.

Anything that triggers systemic and local inflammation can lead to fascia, muscle, joint, bone, and tendon pain and swelling. Any physical activity that causes dorsiflexion of the foot, such as running, playing tennis, and pushing heavy objects, can also raise your risk for plantar fasciitis. Other risk factors include pregnancy, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cigarette smoking, and circulation problems.


Your podiatrist may recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to quell both inflammation and pain of the plantar fascia. Rest, icing the affected area, wearing soft insoles inside the shoes, doing stretching exercises of the foot, and foot massages may also help reduce pain and swelling.

If you are obese, your doctor will suggest that you lose weight, which will keep pressure off your plantar fascia. Even losing a few pounds can make a big difference in your symptoms. If you are struggling with your weight and need help reaching your weight loss goals, your doctor can refer you to a nutritionist to help you make wise food choices.

If your symptoms fail to respond to these treatments, your doctor may recommend that you use a night splint for a couple of months. Doing so will help keep your foot in its proper position so that your plantar fascia remains in its normal, slightly stretched position.

Another treatment that your podiatrist may recommend for severe symptoms includes corticosteroid injections. While effective in managing the pain and inflammation of plantar fasciitis, corticosteroid injections may cause side effects such as irritation at the injection site, rash, and bone pain. 

If you have severe pain on the bottom of your foot, make an appointment with your podiatrist. After a comprehensive examination, he or she will recommend an appropriate treatment plan to ease your pain and restore your mobility.