Table of Contents
Introduction - Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel bone to the toes. This tissue helps to form the foot’s arch.
With overuse such as running or standing for long periods on hard surfaces, or from wearing shoes with little support, tiny tears can develop in the plantar fascia. These can cause inflammation and heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis is often caused by poor foot mechanics. If your foot flattens too much, the fascia may overstretch and swell. If your foot flattens too little, the fascia may ache from being pulled too tight.
Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms
With plantar fasciitis, the bottom of your foot may hurt when you stand, especially first thing in the morning. Pain usually occurs on the inside of the foot, near the spot where your heel and arch meet. Pain may lessen after a few steps, but it comes back after rest or with prolonged movement.
- Sharp, burning or throbbing heel pain
- Pain is worst when arising from bed in the morning because the plantar fascia has contracted during the night
- The pain eases during the day
- Pain returns after resting or sitting for a period
Treating Plantar Fasciitis - Medical History and Physical Exam
Where and when does your foot hurt? Your podiatrist may first ask about your symptoms. Then he or she may feel for damaged ligaments, inflamed tendons, and displaced bones or joints. Your podiatrist may also watch you walk to see if your symptoms are caused by incorrect foot movement.
Once plantar fasciitis has been identified as the cause of your heel pain, non-invasive treatments include resting and icing the area, along with anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation. A steroid injection can also relieve inflammation and pain.
Wearing a brace to keep the plantar fascia stretched at night can be very effective.
Physical therapy will help. Strengthening and stretching exercises and massage will restore the plantar fascia’s flexibility.
There are more intense treatments available for persistent pain, and surgery may be recommended in severe cases.
Can My Podiatrist Help? Preventing Plantar Fasciitis
Reducing symptoms is your podiatrist’s first goal. Then he or she works to correct the cause of your problem. If your pain is due to poor foot mechanics, custom-made shoe inserts (orthoses) may help. We also now offer EPAT Treatment.
If Surgery Is Needed
What Can I Do?
You can’t stay off your feet altogether, but you can reduce overuse and the risks that come with it. Also, be sure to follow your podiatrist’s treatment plan. Take medications as directed, and wear orthosis if you have them, even while at home.
Some lifestyle changes can also help a return of plantar fasciitis:
- Lose excess pounds if you are overweight.
- Avoid running on hard or uneven ground
- Choose sturdy shoes with good support.
- Avoid wearing high heels. Wear shoes or house slippers that support your arch.
- Low-impact exercises such as biking and swimming are better for your heels than running.
- Stretch your calves regularly during the day and after a workout.
- Sleep with your bedsheet untucked at the bottom so your feet and legs can stretch out at night.