Plantar fasciitis occurs when there is inflammation to the thick layer of tissue that connects the calcaneus (heel) bone to the bones that make up the toes.
This band of tissue runs along the entire underside of the foot, and it is exposed to the majority of the pressure placed on the foot from running, standing, and walking around.
It is one of the most common causes of heel pain, and occurs very frequently in runners who put repeated pressure on this tissue that lies at at the bottom of the foot. It is also the most common cause of heel pain reported by physicians across the country.
This condition normally results in a stabbing pain upon the first steps of the day. As you move the pain can decrease, but after long periods of sitting or standing it can return. Those who are obese and wear improper fitting shoes are also at risk for developing this painful disorder of the foot.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis most often occurs in the middle aged population, although it can also be developed by younger people who run often and put repeated pressure on the ligament this condition affects.
Normally, the plantar ligament acts as the first cushion that absorbs the pressure of walking or running. Straining this ligament causes tiny tears and if these tears continue to form, plantar fasciitis will develop.
High arches and flat feet are also common risk factors that can lead to plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis include:
- Tenderness to the heel, achilles tendon, or bottom of foot
- Pain and swelling
- Warmth to the touch
Plantar fasciitis typically causes a stabbing pain throughout the bottom of the foot near the heel. The pain is usually the worst within the first few steps you take in the morning after you get out of bed, although it can also be triggered by long periods of standing or sitting. The pain is usually worse after exercise, not during.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options
While there is no single treatment that will work for everyone to cure plantar fasciitis, there are many things you can attempt to try to help your foot get better and relieve the associated pain:
- Rest. In order for your plantar fasciitis to heal, pressure must be taken off of the foot for extended periods of time to allow the tissue to begin healing activities.
- Ice. Since plantar fasciitis results in inflammation and redness, icing the affected area can help to promote healing and reduce pain.
- Stretch. Stretching out the foot (as directed by your doctor) can help to relieve pressure and tightness associated.
- Wear correct shoes. If you have a flat foot or high arch, you may need certain orthotic inserts that will help to reduce your risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
If these treatments do not produce results, your doctor may recommend removable splints that are worn at night, in addition to shots (such as a steroid) to the affected area.
Surgery is only recommended in severe cases where the prior options did not produce results. Doctors only suggest it for people who still have pain after trying other treatments for 6 to 12 months.
If you are experiencing consistent pain to the underside of your foot or heel, contact us today to get relief!