Plantar fasciitis is a painful foot injury that can affect both athletes and non-athletes. This injury is a problem for all sufferers, but for diabetics, this injury is an even bigger worry. Here are five things diabetics need to know about plantar fasciitis.
What are the signs of plantar fasciitis?
If you have plantar fasciitis, you will feel pain underneath your heel and in your arch. This pain tends to be worse first thing in the morning or after you've been sitting or resting for a while. This pain can make it hard for you to do everyday activities like walking, standing, or climbing stairs. If you notice these symptoms, don't ignore them; see a podiatrist right away.
What causes this condition?
The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that holds up the arch of your foot. It also plays an important role in your gait; the tissue contracts and expands like a spring to help you conserve energy while walking or running. While the tissue can handle a lot of stress, it's possible for it to become inflamed and irritated if you put too much strain on it.
There are many different things that can put excessive strain on your plantar fascia. Here are a few possible causes:
- Wearing shoes that are poorly-fitting or worn out;
- Standing for long periods of time;
- Being obese;
- Walking or running on hard, indoor surfaces;
- Increasing the intensity or duration of your exercise too suddenly.
Why is it a concern for diabetics?
Diabetes causes changes in your feet which can make plantar fasciitis more of a concern. One of these changes is poor circulation. Diabetes makes your blood vessels narrower and harder, and when this happens, less blood is able to flow to your feet. Reduced blood flow makes it harder for your feet to heal themselves from injuries like plantar fasciitis. Since your feet aren't able to heal as well, your pain may become chronic. If you need to change your gait to minimize this chronic pain, you may then develop pain in your knees, hips, or back.
How do podiatrists treat it?
Resting is an important part of plantar fasciitis treatment. You will need to avoid activities that put strain on your plantar fascia, like running and walking, and will also need to avoid standing for prolonged periods.
Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids can help control your pain and inflammation while your plantar fascia heals. Some studies have shown that botulinum toxin injections may also be an effective treatment for plantar fasciitis.
Your podiatrist may also recommend getting new shoes. If your shoes don't provide enough arch support, your plantar fascia has to work harder, and the additional strain will make your problem worse. Your podiatrist may create custom-fitted orthotics for you to place inside your shoes for additional support.
Traditional treatment usually takes about six weeks, but if you have poor circulation due to diabetes, don't be frustrated if your progress is slower. Your podiatrist will continue to work with you until your condition is treated.
How common is it?
Plantar fasciitis is a fairly common foot injury: it's estimated to affect about 10% of the general population. It's also estimated that plantar fasciitis is responsible for about one million patient visits per year. Since it's such a common injury, all diabetics need to be aware of the risk this injury poses for them.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful foot injury, and when you have diabetes, the injury may take longer to heal or even become chronic. If you think you have this injury, see a podiatrist, such as one at Elmhurst Podiatry Center Ltd, right away for treatment.