What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when there is inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. This band of tissue supports the arch of your foot. Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis is common among middle-aged people; however, it can also occur in young people who are on their feet a lot like soldiers or athletes. It can occur in one foot or both feet.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
There are a few common causes of plantar fasciitis, with faulty foot structure being at the top of the list. A person who has problems with their arches, whether it be overly flat feet or high-arched feet, are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. Another cause would be wearing unsupportive footwear on hard surfaces. Plantar fasciitis is very common among people whose job requires them to spend long hours on their feet. Obesity may also contribute to plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Pain on the bottom of the heel
- Pain that worsens upon standing
- Pain that increases over a period of weeks or months
Often, people with plantar fasciitis state that the pain is worse when they get up in the morning or after they have been standing for an extended period of time. Upon waking, after walking for a few minutes, the pain may decrease, as walking stretches the fascia. For some, the pain will subside then return after spending a long period of time on their feet.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
Initially, we may try treatment strategies that you can begin at home:
- No going barefoot. You put undue stress on your plantar fascia when you go shoeless.
- Use ice. Place an ice pack on your heel for 20 minutes a few times a day to reduce inflammation. Do not apply ice directly to the skin, place a thin towel between your heel and the ice.
- Do stretching exercises. Performing exercises that stretch the calf muscles can ease pain and assist with recovery.
- Limit physical activity. Your heel needs rest, cut down on physical activity.
- Proper support. Wear shoes that provide good arch support with a slightly raised heel to reduce stress on the plantar fascia.
- Use anti-inflammatory drugs. We may recommend an NSAID- like ibuprofen, to reduce pain and inflammation.
After trying the above strategies for a few weeks -if you still have pain- we may add one or more of these treatment approaches:
- Custom orthotics help correct the underlying structural abnormalities that cause plantar fasciitis.
- Strapping and padding. Strapping helps with support and reduces strain on the fascia, and placing pads in the shoe softens the impact of walking.
- Physical therapy. To help provide relief, exercises and physical therapy measures may be used.
- Injection therapy. For some patients, corticosteroid injections may be used to relieve pain and help reduce inflammation.
- Night splint. Use of a splint at night will maintain an extended stretch of the plantar fascia while sleeping, reducing the morning pain some patients experience.
- Removable walking cast. To allow your foot to rest and heal, a walking cast may be used to keep your foot immobile for a few weeks.
Surgery may be considered if, after several months, you continue to have pain. Only a small percentage of patients with plantar fasciitis require surgery, with most responding well to the above options
Pain in the feet can be especially burdensome because it inhibits your ability to exercise, stand, and walk normally. If you’re experiencing foot pain, schedule an appointment with one of our friendly foot doctors. The podiatrists at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle will thoroughly examine your feet and evaluate your symptoms to better understand your condition. We will work with you to create a treatment plan that best fits your needs and puts an end to your foot pain.
Call (208) 855-5955 or request an appointment online.