Plantar fasciitis is considered the number one cause of foot and heel pain, affecting millions of people all over the world. It causes pain and stiffness at the level of the heel, especially with the first steps being taken in the morning. Left untreated, it can affect one’s overall functionality and prevent the implication in physical activities. While a wealth of information is available online on the subject of plantar fasciitis, there are a lot of misconceptions that have to be cleared.
Misconception: bone spurs cause plantar fasciitis
There are a lot of people who believe that their condition is brought upon by the bone spurs that appear at the level of the heel. Unfortunately, this misconception has also been promoted by specialists, who lack the necessary training and experience to understand this condition. In reality, plantar fasciitis occurs as a result of the plantar fascia being irritated. Micro-tears appear at the point of insertion (heel) and the body tries to compensate for the existent problems, by bringing more calcium to the area. Thus, the bone spurs are not actually a cause of plantar fasciitis but rather a form of protecting the tendon from complete tearing.
Misconception: plantar fasciitis is an inherited condition
Scientists have already established that there are a number of conditions involving the foot, which are inherited, such as bunions. However, it has not been confirmed that plantar fasciitis has a direct genetic component. It is true that there are a number of risk factors, which can be carried from one generation to the other, such as having flat feet. These can make a person more susceptible to developing conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
Misconception: plantar fasciitis is a condition you will have all your life
Even though plantar fasciitis can be classified under chronic conditions, this does not mean that it will present all of your life. It is a difficult condition to treat, with multiple flare-ups, but, with the right treatment plan, it can be alleviated and even completely eliminated. What matters is that you do not address only the symptoms of the conditions but also the root cause. At the same time, you might want to avoid activities and footwear, which can make the condition worse. Wear adequate footwear, stretch your tendons and rest whenever you are experiencing discomfort.
Misconception: there is only one way to treat plantar fasciitis
If you will ever hear a doctor or medical specialist saying this to you, get up and leave his/her practice. Plantar fasciitis requires a complex intervention plan, with medication, orthotic devices and night splints. Its symptoms can be alleviated with ice massages, stretches and physical rest. The most important thing is that you pay attention to your body, resting whenever you feel the slightest discomfort or pain in the heel area. Surgical intervention is recommended as well, in the situation no improvement is obtained with other treatments or therapies.
Misconception: if you have flat feet, you will also suffer from plantar fasciitis
As it was already mentioned above, having flat feet represents a risk factor for the appearance of plantar fasciitis. However, that does not mean that all people who present flat feet, will also develop this condition. On the contrary, there are a lot of people with high arches, who are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in an equal percentage.
Misconception: overpronation is a sole cause of plantar fasciitis
When a person overpronates, this means that he/she has a tendency to turn the feet inward, when walking. Overpronation is associated indeed with flat feet, with the arch of the foot suffering from the constant inward turning. If you are overpronating and also present flat feet, you stand a good chance of developing plantar fasciitis as well. However, this does not mean that the only cause responsible for this condition is overpronation. On the contrary, there are many people who suffer from plantar fasciitis, who turn their feet outward (supination). The basic idea is that both pronation and supination can lead to the irritation of the plantar fascia, causing plantar fasciitis.
Misconception: if you wear adequate footwear, you will get rid of plantar fasciitis
It is true that wearing ill-fitting or worn out shoes is one of the main factors associated with the appearance of plantar fasciitis. In discussing about changes that you need to make, your doctor or podiatrist will probably recommend changing your footwear. However, you should not consider that this change is enough, in order to get rid of plantar fasciitis. You also need to avoid or work on other risk factors, take the recommended precaution measures and stretch your tendons on a regular basis.
Misconception: plantar fasciitis is a condition that only athletes develop
Unfortunately, this is one of the most common misconceptions associated with plantar fasciitis. The truth is that this condition affects people of all ages and occupations, being more common in those who present risk factors (flat feet, obesity, high arches, excess physical training etc.). Poor foot mechanics and inadequate footwear have also been associated with this condition, so it is clear that plantar fasciitis does not appear exclusively in athletes.
Misconception: you can get rid of plantar fasciitis with minimalist running
For many years now, we have heard about minimalist running being presented as the solution to getting rid of plantar fasciitis. It was even suggested that barefoot running could prevent this condition from ever appearing, as it strengthened the muscles of the feet. However, such claims have failed to be backed up by scientific evidence. The truth is that neither minimalist, nor barefoot running, can prevent or treat a condition such as plantar fasciitis.
These are some of the most common misconceptions regarding this inflammatory condition. I strongly urge always performing a thorough research on any medical condition, in order to avoid false or misleading information. Use this article to clarify any questions or uncertainties you might have had, with regard to plantar fasciitis. You can then ask your doctor or podiatrist about such matters as well, in order to see what kind of feedback you will obtain.