Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the band of tissue in the foot known as the plantar fascia which extends from the heel to the toes. The fascia becomes irritated first then inflamed resulting in heel pain. A classic sign of plantar fasciitis, though not present in all cases, is that the worst pain occurs within the first few steps in the morning.
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis results from foot abnormalities related to the structure of the foot (examples include flat feet and high arches). Wearing non-supportive footwear on hard surfaces also exacerbates the condition due to abnormal strain on the plantar fascia. This is particularly common for individuals who work long hours on their feet. Obesity is also a significant contributing factor.
The most common symptoms include heel pain, pain in the arch of the foot, pain that usually occurs within the first few steps in the morning but subsides over time while walking due to stretching of the fascia, increased pain over a period of months and swelling of the bottom of the heel.
There are both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for plantar fasciitis. Common nonsurgical treatment options include icing the heel, avoid going barefoot, stretching exercises, limiting certain activities, wearing supportive shoes and medications such as oral NSAIDs (ibuprofen) to help with pain and inflammation.
If you continue to have pain after a few weeks, your podiatrist may also recommend padding, taping and strapping your foot to provide support and reduce strain on the fascia, custom orthotics, injection therapies, a removable walking cast, night splints or even physical therapy. Treatment options vary on a case by case basis depending on the severity of the pain and the ability for the patient to implement lifestyle changes with nonsurgical treatments.
The majority of plantar fasciitis patients find relief using nonsurgical treatment options. Surgical options may be warranted when all nonsurgical options have been exhausted and pain in the heel continues. Your podiatrist will discuss the surgical options are available and will help you decide which option is the best fit for you.
If you or someone you know is suffering from heel pain known as plantar fasciitis, please call our office for an appointment to discuss treatment options that are right for you.