Plantar Fasciitis

The definition of Plantar Fasciitis is irritation of the ligament running along the bottom of the foot and attaching to the heel. Condition is sometimes worse in the morning upon arising or after inactivity, sometimes disabling, can occur in the front(arch area), back, or bottom of the heel. This pain is generally the result of faulty biomechanics (walking gait abnormalities) that place too much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues that attach to it. The stress may also result from injury, or a bruise incurred while walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces; wearing poorly constructed footwear; or being overweight.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis? Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. In this condition, the fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed-resulting in heel pain.

The symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis are:
• Pain on the bottom of the heel
• Pain that is usually worse upon arising
• Pain that increases over a period of months

People with plantar fasciitis often describe the pain as worse when they get up in the morning or after they’ve been sitting for long periods of time. After a few minutes of walking the pain decreases, because walking stretches the fascia. For some people the pain subsides but returns after spending long periods of time on their feet.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis The most common cause of plantar fasciitis relates to faulty structure of the foot. For example, people who have problems with their arches-either overly flat feet or high-arched feet-are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis.

Wearing non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces puts abnormal strain on the plantar fascia and can also lead to plantar fasciitis. This is particularly evident when a person’s job requires long hours on their feet. Obesity also contributes to plantar fasciitis.

Diagnostic imaging studies such as x-rays, a bone scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to distinguish the different types of heel pain. 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.

Treatment Options Treatment of plantar fasciitis begins with first-line strategies, which you can begin at home: Stretching exercises. Exercises that stretch out the calf muscles help ease pain and assist with recovery. Avoid going barefoot. When you walk without shoes, you put undue strain and stress on your plantar fascia. Ice. Putting an ice pack on your heel for 10 minutes several times a day helps reduce inflammation. Limit activities. Cut down on extended physical activities to give your heel a rest. Shoe modifications: Wearing supportive shoes that have good arch support and a slightly raised heel reduces stress on the plantar fascia. Your shoes should provide a comfortable environment for the foot. Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may help reduce pain and inflammation. Lose weight. Extra pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.

If you still have pain after several weeks, see your podiatric surgeon, who may add one or more of these approaches:

Padding and strapping. Placing pads in the shoe softens the impact of walking. Strapping helps support the foot and reduce strain on the fascia.

Orthotic devices. Custom orthotic devices that fit into your shoe help correct the underlying structural abnormalities causing the plantar fasciitis.

Injection therapy. In some cases, corticosteroid injections are used to help reduce the inflammation and relieve pain. Removable walking cast. A removable walking cast may be used to keep your foot immobile for a few weeks to allow it to rest and heal.

Night splint. Wearing a night splint allows you to maintain an extended stretch of the plantar fascia while sleeping. This may help reduce the morning pain experienced by some patients. We carry the best night splint on the market. See below.

Physical therapy. Exercises and other physical therapy measures may be used to help provide relief.

Although most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to non-surgical treatment, a small percentage of patients may require surgery. If, after several months of non-surgical treatment, you continue to have heel pain, surgery will be considered. Your podiatric foot and ankle surgeon will discuss the surgical options with you and determine which approach would be most beneficial for you.

Long-term Care No matter what kind of treatment you undergo for plantar fasciitis, the underlying causes that led to this condition may remain. Therefore, you will need to continue with preventive measures. If you are overweight, it is important to reach and maintain an ideal weight. For all patients, wearing supportive shoes and using custom orthotic devices are the mainstay of long-term treatment for plantar fasciitis.

Advancepodiatricmedicalgroup.com would like to thank the ACFAS for their information and facts. The ACFAS provides this information as an educational reference and as a public service. The material is derived from the current medical knowledge on the topics listed. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment & Cure:

A podiatrist can evaluate arch and heel pain and may prescribe customized shoe inserts called orthoses to aid in Plantar Fasciitis treatment. Wearing cushioned shoes with an elevated heel may decrease pressure and alleviate some pain. For his patients, Dr. Hurless recommends rest, supportive shoes, ice, and the 3/4 length Powerstep supports. Many of his patients find this as an affordable solution and will purchase several pairs of different shoes. Another very effective product for Plantar Fasciitis that is worn while sleeping is the night splint.

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