Diabetic Foot Care Advice

The aim of this blog is to help members of the public to understand their feet better. However the information on this blog should never be regarded as medical advice. Readers with foot problems are strongly encouraged to visit their GP if not the podiatrist for further medical assessment and treatment.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Understanding The Plantar Fascia And Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is the ligament on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel with the base of the toes. The plantar fascia is also called plantar aponeurosis or aponeurosis plantaris. It is a strong layer of thick, white, fibrous, connective tissue. Moving away from the heel, it divides into five strands which correspond with each toe.

The plantar fascia stabilizes the arch of the foot. The plantar fascia stretches whenever the foot hits the ground. It is also involved during the part of the step when the heel rises from the ground.

With every step, the plantar fascia is under pressure. If this ligament becomes inflamed due to injury or overuse, the person may develop plantar fasciitis. Repetitive trauma, such as one might experience while playing sports or running, causes tiny tears in the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis is the most common ailment affecting the plantar fascia.

A plantar fascia rupture is more severe than plantar fasciitis. With a plantar fascia rupture, the whole ligament is torn, as opposed to the tiny tears that cause plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis ruptures are much less common than plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fascia ruptures can occur in athletic injury. Marathon runners and sprinters are susceptible to plantar fascia ruptures. A rupture causes intense pain at the time of the injury. The doctor may prescribe the use of a cast to allow the ruptured plantar fascia to heel. A plantar fascia rupture can be a complication of receiving corticosteroid injections to treat plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia can be put under excess pressure if the person is overweight or has sudden weight gain. Traumatic injury to the foot can cause problems for the plantar fascia, including infection. Streptococci are the most likely suspect in plantar fascia infections.

Having diabetes or arthritis can cause problems for the plantar fascia. Diabetics sometimes experience a thickening of the plantar fascia. Diabetics are also more susceptible to infections of the foot. Having arthritis in the foot increases the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

With plantar fasciitis, a heel spur may develop at the site of the injury to the plantar fascia. A heel spur is a small piece of bone. The pain of plantar fasciitis used to be blamed on heel spurs. Heel spurs are a symptom of plantar fasciitis, not the cause. The presence of heel spurs does not always cause additional pain.

Using supportive shoes is the best way to prevent problems with the plantar fascia. Shoes should fit comfortably and provide support and cushioning to the arch, ball, and heel of the feet. Athletic shoes should be replaced regularly, because they lose their ability to cushion and support the feet over time with use.


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