Understanding Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition where the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes, becomes inflamed. This inflammation results in heel pain, particularly when taking the first steps in the morning or after a long period of standing or sitting.
Causes and Risk Factors of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis commonly occurs due to repeated strain on the plantar fascia. Risk factors include age (it’s more common in middle age), certain types of exercise (like long-distance running), foot mechanics (flat feet, high arches), obesity, and occupations that require prolonged standing or walking.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The most notable symptom of plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel. The pain is typically worst with the first few steps after awakening, although it can also be triggered by long periods of standing or rising from sitting.
Diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis
Podiatrists diagnose plantar fasciitis based on the patient’s medical history and a physical examination. The doctor will check for areas of tenderness in the foot and the exact location of the pain to ensure it’s not the result of a different foot problem. Imaging tests aren’t routinely used, but they can help rule out other causes of heel pain.
Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis
Treatment for plantar fasciitis usually involves conservative measures, such as rest, ice, and physical therapy. However, when conservative treatments aren’t effective or if the condition is severe, more advanced treatments, including surgery, may be necessary.
Conservative Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis
Conservative treatments include physical therapy exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and to strengthen lower leg muscles, which stabilize the ankle and heel. A podiatrist may also recommend orthotics or shoe inserts to help distribute pressure evenly when you walk. Other options include over-the-counter pain relievers and corticosteroid injections for temporary pain relief.
Surgical Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis
Surgery is typically the last resort and is considered only after other options have failed to provide relief. Surgical options include gastrocnemius recession (lengthening the calf muscles) and plantar fascia release, where part of the plantar fascia tissue is cut to relieve tension and inflammation.
Preventing Plantar Fasciitis
Preventive measures include maintaining a healthy weight to minimize stress on the plantar fascia, wearing supportive shoes that fit properly, not wearing worn-out athletic shoes, and starting a new athletic activity gradually.
Living with Plantar Fasciitis
Living with plantar fasciitis requires patience and adherence to therapeutic interventions, as it can take several months to recover. The condition may alter the individual’s lifestyle to some extent, requiring changes in physical activities, footwear, and daily routines to manage symptoms and prevent recurrence.
Contact Us for Plantar Fasciitis Care
If you’re experiencing symptoms of plantar fasciitis, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our clinic. Our team of experienced podiatrists will provide a comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment plan to help you return to your daily activities free from pain.