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Plantar fasciitis is a painful foot condition caused by a multitude of factors. However, there is little scientific evidence suggesting that diet can directly cause this ailment. The only link between plantar fasciitis and diet is that obesity can result from the condition, so food in the diet could be considered an indirect contributor.
Plantar fasciitis relates to the painful swelling of the fascia, which is a thick band of tissue connecting the heel to the toes. According to the National Institutes of Health, plantar fasciitis is most common among active men 40 to 70 years old. The general symptom, which is pain in the heel, tends to be worse after a period of inactivity, such as when you take the first few steps first thing in the morning, according to “American Family Physician.” Additionally, the pain may worsen after a period of prolonged overuse, such as at the end of a running session.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Evidence in the medical literature suggests that the cause of plantar fasciitis is the result of cumulative overload stress. As reported in “American Family Physician” in 2001, this stress results in persistent tears in the plantar fascia tissue that prevents the body from being able to repair itself. The stress can be caused by many factors, including wearing ill-fitting shoes, foot arch disorders, limb-length discrepancy and obesity.
Plantar Fasciitis and Obesity
A study reported in “The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery” in 2003 investigated lifestyle factors contributing to plantar fasciitis. The researchers found that reduced ankle dorsiflexion was the largest risk factor for developing the condition but also that obesity could predispose an individual to developing plantar fasciitis. Even if specific foods are not responsible for causing plantar fasciitis, foods that lead to obesity could indirectly cause it as a result of becoming overweight.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
There is no strong scientific evidence that dietary changes could help treat plantar fasciitis. Instead, the best treatments, according to a 2008 paper in the “Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons,” include rest, massage, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, night splints, heel cups and pads, custom and off-the-shelf orthoses, injections, casts, shock-wave therapy and, in extreme cases, surgery.