17 October, 2011
Vitamin D Deficiency & Plantar Fasciitis
The most common cause of heel pain among adults is plantar fasciitis, a condition that affects the fascia, or the thick tissue between your heel bone and your toes. Constant wear of the fascia is generally the cause of plantar fasciitis, and active men ages 40 to 70 are the most vulnerable. Although vitamin D deficiencies can cause a number of bone problems, plantar fasciitis is not one of them.
Vitamin D aids absorption of calcium and ultimately affects bone mass. A lack of calcium or vitamin D leads to bone diseases and conditions, including heel spurs. Because plantar fasciitis was once considered the result of heel spurs, it stood to reason that consuming more vitamin D and calcium could prevent formation of heel spurs and subsequently, plantar fasciitis. Today, researchers know that heel spurs are not the cause of plantar fasciitis, although they sometimes occur with the condition. In fact, X-rays show that not everyone who has plantar fasciitis has heel spurs, according to MedlinePlus.
Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis
Although vitamin D deficiencies are not associated with plantar fasciitis, other factors can put you at risk for developing the painful condition. People with flat feet and high arches are more likely to have the condition, as are obese people and those who put stress on their feet through physical activities such as running. Shoes that lack support or have soft soles can also cause undue stress on your feet, increasing your risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
Although vitamin D supplements are helpful in preventing bone deterioration and subsequent problems, they are not an approved treatment for plantar fasciitis. Focus instead on resting your affected foot, stretching the heel and wearing shoes with adequate support. Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, might also help reduce inflammation and pain, although you should discuss these treatments with your doctor first. Some people find orthotics effective, while others require splints to stretch the tissues and promote healing.
Noninvasive methods are usually enough to relieve plantar fasciitis pain; however, treatments can be lengthy and surgery is sometimes the best option. Talk to your doctor about the right methods for you. Additionally, if you suspect you are deficient in vitamin D, ask about using supplements or sunlight exposure to protect against heel spurs and other health complications.
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