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Can Lower Back Pain Cause Plantar Fasciitis?

It is possible that back problems, specifically lower back pain can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis, although it is not a direct cause of the condition.

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot and connects the heel bone to the toes.

However, it is possible that lower back pain or other conditions that affect the lower body, such as leg, hip or knee problems, could lead to changes in the way a person walks or stands, which could put additional strain on the feet and potentially contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis pain.

Additionally, certain underlying medical conditions, such as obesity or diabetes, can increase a person’s risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

Any of these conditions could be an underlying cause of your plantar fasciitis problems.

If you are experiencing lower back conditions and also have symptoms of plantar fasciitis, such as pain in the heel or arch of the foot, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that addresses both your lower back pain and plantar fasciitis.

In a 2017 study conducted by the Des Moines University and the University of Wisconsin, they looked at the association between back pain and plantar fasciitis.

The study found a significantly higher rate of lower back pain among people with plantar heel pain than among controls; 74% of people with plantar heel pain had lower back pain, as compared to 37% of controls. People with plantar heel pain also had 17% higher levels of low back disability than controls.

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In this article, we will explore the connection between lower back pain and plantar fasciitis and how they can be related. 

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. It’s a painful foot condition that results from inflammation or overstretching of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue located underneath the sole of the foot.

It differs from other foot conditions in that it typically causes distinct pain in the heel or arch areas and is most commonly experienced during activities like walking or standing after long periods of rest.

People suffering from plantar fasciitis can experience pain anywhere along the length of the plantar fascia, with symptoms ranging from mild to intense. In fact, it can also affect your lower leg.

plantar fasciitis can cause your calf to tighten up and hurt. Doing gentle calf stretches or massage on your calf may provide temporary relief, but you’ll only get rid of the calf pain if you treat the plantar fasciitis.

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Diagnosing and identifying it can be difficult as some individuals may have similar symptoms for other underlying medical issues regarding the feet.

If you’re experiencing persistent pain in your feet, seeking professional help from a doctor can help you identify whether plantar fasciitis is indeed causing your discomfort.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

It is typically caused by overuse or improper support of the foot, leading to strain and inflammation of the plantar fascia.

There are several factors that can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis, including:

  1. Overuse: Participating in activities that involve a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces, such as running or dancing, can put excessive strain on the feet and lead to plantar fasciitis.
  2. Unsupportive footwear: Wearing shoes with insufficient arch support or cushioning can put additional strain on the feet and increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.
  3. Age: As we age, the plantar fascia becomes less flexible and more prone to strain and inflammation.
  4. Being overweight: Excess body weight puts additional strain on the feet, which can increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.
  5. Certain medical conditions: Certain underlying medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
  6. Flat feet: Having flat feet, or pes planus, can cause the arch of the foot to collapse, increasing the risk of plantar fasciitis.
  7. Wearing high heels: Wearing high heels can put more strain on the plantar fascia and increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

If you are experiencing pain and discomfort in the heel or arch of your foot, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for medical advice, a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend the most appropriate treatment options for your specific situation.

How Can Lower Back Pain Lead To Plantar Fasciitis?

As mentioned previously, lower back pain or other conditions that affect the lower extremities can lead to changes in the way a person walks or stands, which could put additional strain on the feet and potentially contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.

For example, if a person with lower back pain is trying to alleviate their discomfort by shifting their weight onto one side of their body or by limping, it can cause an imbalance in their gait and lead to overuse of certain muscles and tendons in the foot.

This can result in strain and inflammation of the plantar fascia, leading to plantar fasciitis.

Additionally, certain underlying medical conditions that cause lower back pain, such as degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis, can affect a person’s balance and mobility, which could also contribute to changes in their gait and an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

It is important to speak with a healthcare provider if you are experiencing lower back pain and also have symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that addresses both your lower back pain and plantar fasciitis.

This may include physical therapy, orthotic inserts, and other forms of treatment to help alleviate your pain and improve your mobility.

Can Sciatic Nerve Cause Plantar Fasciitis?

It is possible that sciatic nerve irritation or compression could contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis, although it is not a direct cause of the condition.

Sciatica is a term used to describe pain, numbness, or weakness that radiates along the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body and runs from the lower back through the buttocks and down the legs.

Sciatica can be caused by a variety of factors, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and piriformis syndrome.

Sciatic nerve irritation or compression can cause pain and discomfort in the lower back, buttocks, and legs, which can lead to changes in the way a person walks or stands in an effort to alleviate their discomfort.

These changes in gait can put additional strain on the feet and potentially contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.

However, it is important to note that plantar fasciitis is typically caused by overuse or improper support of the foot, leading to strain and inflammation of the plantar fascia.

If you are experiencing sciatica and also have symptoms of plantar fasciitis, such as pain in the heel or arch of the foot, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that addresses both your sciatica and plantar fasciitis.

Can Plantar Fasciitis Lead To Other Problems?

If left untreated, plantar fasciitis can lead to the development of other foot problems, such as heel spurs, which are bony growths that develop on the heel bone in response to chronic plantar fasciitis.

Heel spurs (aka bone spurs) can cause additional pain and discomfort, and may require additional treatment.

Plantar fasciitis can also lead to decreased mobility and difficulty participating in activities that involve walking or standing for extended periods of time. This can impact a person’s quality of life and overall well-being.

Many patients have back, foot and/or leg pain when taking their first steps of the day. Some people experience pain that may last throughout the day.

It is important to seek treatment for plantar fasciitis as soon as possible to prevent the condition from worsening and to avoid the development of additional foot problems.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis may include rest, ice, stretching exercises, physical therapy, orthotic inserts, and other forms of treatment, depending on the severity of the condition.

Simple Treatments For Plantar Fasciitis

There are several simple treatments that may help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis:

  1. Rest: Resting the affected foot can help reduce inflammation and allow the plantar fascia to heal. Avoid activities that put excessive strain on the foot, such as running or jumping.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory medication: Your doctor may advise you to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. This can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  3. Corticosteroid injection: If other treatments are not helping, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation.
  4. Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and pain. Try placing an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on the heel for 15-20 minutes several times a day.
  5. Stretching exercises: Stretching the plantar fascia and other foot muscles can help improve flexibility and alleviate pain. Some stretching exercises to try include:
  • Towel stretches: Sit with your affected leg extended and place a towel around the ball of your foot. Use the towel to gently pull your toes towards you to stretch the plantar fascia.
  • Calf stretches: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall for support. Place the affected foot behind you, with the heel on the ground and the toes pointing up. Gently lean towards the wall to stretch the calf muscles.
  1. Custom Orthotics: Wearing shoes with proper arch support and cushioning can help reduce strain on the plantar fascia. Orthotic inserts can provide additional support and help alleviate pain.
  2. Physical therapy: A physical therapist can help improve flexibility, strength, and mobility in the foot and ankle, which can help alleviate pain and improve function.

It is important to speak with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for plantar fasciitis. They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend the most appropriate treatment options for your specific situation.

Does Plantar Fasciitis Every Go Away For Good?

With proper treatment, plantar fasciitis can often be resolved, and the pain and discomfort associated with the condition can be relieved.

However, it is important to note that complete resolution of the condition may not always be possible, and some people may continue to experience occasional flare-ups of plantar fasciitis even after successful treatment.

To prevent recurrence of plantar fasciitis, it is important to maintain proper foot care and support, including wearing shoes with good arch support and cushioning, and participating in activities that do not put excessive strain on the feet.

Stretching exercises can also help maintain flexibility and reduce the risk of future flare-ups.

If you are experiencing pain and discomfort due to plantar fasciitis, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend the most appropriate treatment options for your specific situation.

In conclusion, plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes.

It is typically caused by overuse or improper support of the foot, leading to strain and inflammation of the plantar fascia.

While lower back pain, sciatic nerve irritation, and other conditions can potentially contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis, they are not direct causes of the condition.

If left untreated, plantar fasciitis can lead to other problems, such as heel spurs, and can impact a person’s mobility and quality of life.

Simple treatments, such as rest, ice, stretching exercises, and orthotic inserts, can help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis.

However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, as complete resolution of the condition may not always be possible and some people may continue to experience occasional flare-ups of plantar fasciitis even after successful treatment.

To prevent recurrence of plantar fasciitis, it is important to maintain proper foot care and support, including wearing shoes with good arch support and cushioning, and participating in activities that do not put excessive strain on the feet.