What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Bottom of the heel pain that is very noticeable when getting up in the morning or after sitting for a while is likely Plantar Fasciitis. Once you get moving around, the pain diminishes as walking stretches out the ligament, but starts hurting again after too much activity. This heel pain is described by patients as or bruised or a deep, throbbing pain. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the main ligament (the plantar fascia) on the bottom of the foot. This inflammation usually occurs where this band of tissue attaches to the heel bone, causing pain on the bottom of the heel. However, plantar fasciitis can cause pain in many locations along the arch of the foot. The fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis (or heel pain) is one of the most common foot problems in the world. The podiatrists at Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic treat this foot problem frequently. The condition can affect people of all ages from many different causes: excessive exercise, weight gain, and poor footwear are common contributing factors. This condition is most commonly caused by a faulty structure of the foot. For example, people who have arch problems, either flat feet or high arches, are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis. Wearing shoes without proper support for long periods on hard, flat surfaces can also lead to this heel condition due to abnormal strain on the ligament. People who are overweight are also more prone to plantar fasciitis.

How Is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?

If you are suffering from pain on the bottom of your heel or arch, pain that is worse when you first get up or the pain has gotten worse over several months, it is time to schedule an appointment. Your podiatrist will examine your feet thoroughly, possibly using x-rays and/or ultrasound to confirm Plantar Fasciitis and develop a treatment program for you. Sometimes heel spurs are found in patients with plantar fasciitis, but these are rarely a source of pain. When they are present, the condition may be diagnosed as plantar fasciitis/heel spur syndrome.

Non-surgical treatment options recommended by Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic usually incorporate supporting the foot, rest, and decreasing inflammation, to encourage healing of the ligament.

Treatment options include:

» Anti-inflammatory medications
» Cortisone injections- used to help reduce the inflammation and relieve pain.
» Custom orthotic shoe inserts- help correct the foot position or abnormality causing plantar fasciitis
» Stretching and icing techniques
» Night splint devices-maintain an extended stretch of the plantar fascia while sleeping
» Walking cast-used to keep your foot immobile for a few weeks to allow it to rest and heal
» Tape strappings on the foot-helps support the foot and reduce strain on the fascia.
» Physical therapy
» Rest
» Surgery

What To Expect If Surgery Is Recommended?

Most patients experience relief from non-surgical treatments, but occasionally outpatient surgery becomes necessary. Your Ryan Foot and Ankle podiatrist will talk to you about the surgical options available and discuss the approach that is best for you long-term.

If you suffer pain from plantar fasciitis, give us a call at one of our 5 local podiatry offices in Charlotte, Concord and Harrisburg today for more information or to schedule an appointment.