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Addressing Plantar Fasciitis in the Aging Population

One of the most frequently encountered causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This ailment arises when the dense, fibrous tissue that stretches from the heel to the toes becomes inflamed.

Diagnosing heel spurs usually involves a comprehensive physical examination, where doctors carefully assess the tenderness in the heel area. Additionally, they may utilize imaging techniques such as X-rays or MRI scans to further evaluate the condition. These diagnostic methods help healthcare professionals gain a better understanding of the patient’s situation and determine the best course of action for treatment.

Flexibility Exercises

Scientific research has provided evidence that incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises into your routine can effectively alleviate the pain caused by plantar fasciitis. In addition to their pain-relieving benefits, these exercises also play a crucial role in reducing the chances of this condition recurring in the future. By regularly engaging in these exercises, you can actively combat the discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis and promote long-term relief.

Flexibility exercises are easy and affordable to do at home with no equipment necessary. They have proven beneficial in relieving plantar fasciitis pain and improving walking and gait function over time.

One exercise that doesn’t require equipment is the scrunch-up of a towel. Lay the towel flat on the floor in front of you and, using your bare foot, scrunch it toward you. Perform this exercise twice, finishing each set with 10 reps per foot.

Another exercise you can try is standing at the bottom step of a staircase and gently lowering your heels down. Then, slowly rise onto the balls of your feet. Repeat this 10 times, taking breaks between each repetition for resting.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy has proven to be an effective remedy for many people suffering from plantar fasciitis. It aims to restore mobility (the ability to move), build muscle strength and reduce pain.

Physical therapy sessions typically focus on teaching specific exercises to patients. These may include safe, gentle stretches that can be done at home and which improve flexibility, coordination and strength.

Your physical therapist can also educate you on how to alter your movement patterns, which may help relieve some of the pain and stiffness caused by plantar fasciitis. For instance, they might suggest that you gently roll your foot over a tennis ball or an ice bottle before getting out of bed.

Night splints can also help stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon while you sleep, which may reduce pain. Your therapist might suggest orthotics as well, which distribute pressure more evenly across your feet; these may come as off-the-shelf or custom fit arch supports. Typically, these should only be worn temporarily to avoid further irritation or discomfort.


Plantar fasciitis is a condition that primarily affects older adults due to age-related changes in blood flow and balance issues that weaken the fascia.

Footwear is an important tool in treating plantar fasciitis in older individuals, as it provides support and alleviates pressure placed on the heel bone. Furthermore, footwear helps reduce microtrauma (tiny tears in tissue caused by prolonged walking or standing on hard surfaces) caused by walking or standing too often.

Shoes with thick soles and extra cushioning can reduce pain by decreasing the force placed on your fascia. Soft silicone heel pads are also beneficial.

Shoes with good arch support and regular replacement are beneficial, as they prevent the foot from developing a tight Achilles tendon that puts additional strain on the plantar fascia.


The plantar fascia is an intricate network of fibrous bands that support and absorb shock on foot. It begins at medial calcaneal tuberosity and extends along heel and perifascial structures in the foot, playing an essential role in normal foot biomechanics. Unfortunately, this important structural element can be damaged in various ways.

Risk factors for plantar fasciitis include running and other strenuous activities. Obesity and aging also increase one’s likelihood of developing this condition.

Nonsurgical approaches are often recommended, which can be achieved with manual therapy, stretching and shoe inserts. Electrotherapeutic modalities like iontophoresis or extracorporeal shock-wave therapy may provide temporary pain relief and improved function in some cases. When conservative treatments fail, surgery becomes the last resort.


You might also like to read:

Plantar People
Plantar Fasciitis in Children and Adolescents: Unique Challenges and Solutions
The Role of Foot Biomechanics in Plantar Fasciitis: Exploring the Connection

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