Walking, jogging, running, jumping, dancing, practicing sports, ballet… are some of the actions we usually do without stopping to think about the part of our body that carries them out , about the muscles or joints that are working in each of these exercises. From childhood, we are taught to walk properly so that our feet do not bend and when we start taking our first step, our feet are on the ground properly. However, as we grow and develop our limbs, we also develop some “controversies” when walking or stepping.
The foot is one of the most complex parts of the human body. It consists of 26 bones that are connected by a significant number of joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It supports the weight of the body and is subject to many stresses that can cause pain, swelling or bruising that limits the movement of this organ. Pain in the soles of the feet is a very common disease that can appear on the front or back of the foot, in the heel, in the plantar arch, or on the entire sole of the foot. When you have heel pain or heel pain, there are two very common deformities: plantar fasciitis and heel sprain.
Plantar fasciitis is a deformity in which the fascia becomes inflamed as a result of overloading or overstretching, producing a stabbing pain in the heel area that gets better on the first step and gets worse after standing for some time, Especially in the morning when we wake up and when we sit for long hours and get back on our feet. The fascia is an elastic band that connects the metatarsal bones at the bottom of the toes to the calcaneal bone in the heel. Its function is to keep the base of the foot under tension, to maintain the correct arch of the sole of the foot (plantar curvature), and to reduce impacts when performing any other activity such as walking, jumping or dancing. , “If subjected to too much stress or too many stretches, small tears and swelling can occur in the plantar fascia leading to severe pain in the sole of the foot.”, says Dr. Ghassan Elgedi Saleh, chief of the Orthopedic and Trauma Services at Quironsalud San Jose Hospital.
One of the main causes of this deformity is the anatomy of the foot. Thus, people with more pronounced arches than normal (high arches) or who tend to shift their body weight toward the inside of the foot (valgus feet) are more likely to suffer from plantar fasciitis. The wrong way of taking action can also be a risk factor for this pathology; For example, pronation, that is, loading the support of the foot inward, may contribute to the appearance of this disease. Other factors may be overweight or obesity, as the overload on this area of the foot increases; age, as the tissues wear out and become less elastic as a result of changes in the body between the ages of 40 and 60; certain professions that require you to stand for long periods of time or on hard surfaces; or even “Some sports such as continuous running, for example ballet or aerobic dance, which subject the plantar fascia to constant stress and can cause micro-injuries that eventually lead to its swelling”, Expert adds.
To make a correct diagnosis, the specialist doctor will request an X-ray of the foot, and may also request an MRI or ultrasound. “All these diagnostic methods allow us not only to diagnose plantar fasciitis, but also to understand what is happening on the inside of the foot, what is swelling, if there is bone edema that is plantar fasciitis. pain, which is not a major tear, no calcification of the nerve within the fascia.” Dr Ghasan Elgedi Saleh explains. Therefore, testing is important to rule out other causes of pain.”because the diagnosis is definitively clinical”, explains the doctor.
It is very important to study the risk factors in the patient and identify the causes that have led to plantar fasciitis in order to carry out adequate treatment. Once the cause has been identified, the patient is advised to avoid risk factors that can lead to pathology, and then treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs is started. Other more conservative treatments are applying ice to the foot area and, of course, wearing comfortable shoes. Shoes with thick soles and cushioned insoles can reduce pain when walking or standing for long periods of time. Physiotherapy is also recommended, which will be of great help in stretching the calf muscles and plantar fascia to reduce recovery time and relieve pain, as this deformity worsens when these muscles are tense.
When conservative treatments don’t work, specialists may recommend radioguide infiltration, ortho biological treatments, and even shock waves to reduce inflammation of the plantar fascia and improve recovery. Only in extreme cases, may the physician consider surgical treatment with a variety of techniques depending on the professional, which can range from minimally invasive ultrasound techniques to major surgery depending on each case and the patient’s clinical history.