Plantar fasciitis is a dull to severe pain in your heel caused by a strain and inflammation of your plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a scientific name for âfoot tissueâ. This particular
tissue is a ligament attached at one side to the heel bone. At the other side, the tissue fans out to attach at the base of each of your five toes. Plantar fasciitis is the name for the condition
that develops when that tissue becomes inflamed. When the plantar fascia is excessively stretched, micro-tears can occur, causing this swelling and subsequent pain.
Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot. If tension on that bowstring becomes too great, it can create small tears in
the fascia. Repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed.
Plantar fasciitis typically causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. The pain is usually worst with the first few steps after awakening, although it can also be triggered by
long periods of standing or getting up from a seated position.
A physical exam performed in the office along with the diagnostic studies as an x-ray. An MRI may also be required to rule out a stress fracture, or a tear of the plantar fascia. These are conditions
that do not normally respond to common plantar fasciitis treatment.
Non Surgical Treatment
Over-the-counter Orthotics. A soft, over-the-counter orthotic (Prefabricated orthotic) with an accommodating arch support has proven to be quite helpful in the management of plantar fascia symptoms.
Studies demonstrate that it is NOT necessary to obtain a custom orthotic for the treatment of this problem. Comfort Shoes. Shoes with a stiff sole, rocker-bottom contour, and a comfortable leather
upper combined with an over-the-counter orthotic or a padded heel can be very helpful in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Anti-Inflammatory Medication (NSAIDs): A short course of over-the-counter
anti-inflammatory medications may be helpful in managing plantar fasciitis symptoms providing the patient does not have any contra-indications such as a history of stomach ulcers. Activity
Modification Any activity that has recently been started, such as a new running routine or a new exercise at the gym that may have increased loading through the heel area, should be stopped on a
temporary basis until the symptoms have resolved. At that point, these activities can be gradually started again. Also, any activity changes (ex. sitting more) that will limit the amount of time a
patient is on their feet each day may be helpful. A night splint, which keeps the ankle in a neutral position (right angle) while the patient sleeps, can be very helpful in alleviating the
significant morning symptoms. A night splint may be prescribed by your physician. Alternatively, it can be ordered online or even obtained in some medical supply stores. This splint is worn nightly
for 1-3 weeks until the cycle of pain is broken. Furthermore, this splinting can be reinstituted for a short period of time is symptoms recur.
If you consider surgery, your original diagnosis should be confirmed by the surgeon first. In addition, supporting diagnostic evidence (such as nerve-conduction studies) should be gathered to rule
out nerve entrapment, particularly of the first branch of the lateral plantar nerve and the medial plantar nerve. Blood tests should consist of an erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), rheumatoid
factor, human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27), and uric acid. Itâs important to understand that surgical treatment of bone spurs rarely improves plantar fasciitis pain. And surgery for plantar
fasciitis can cause secondary complications-a troubling condition known as lateral column syndrome.
Do your best to maintain healthy weight. Plantar fasciitis is caused by wear and tear on your feet. Being overweight drastically increases the pounding your feet take every day. Even losing a few
pounds can help reduce heel pain. Avoid jobs that require walking or standing for long periods of time. Having your body weight on your feet all day puts a lot of pressure on your plantar fascia
tissue. Replace your shoes on a regular basis. Buy new shoes when the old ones are worn-out. Make sure your shoes will fit your foot size comfortably at the end of the day. Pay attention to the width
as well as the length. Use good supportive shoes that will help you with your original problem like arch support, motion control, stability, cushioning etc. Stretch regularly as part of your daily
routine. There are a few special stretching techniques for the prevention. Choose soft surfaces for your exercise routine to walk, jog or run on. Rest and elevate your feet every chance you have.
Strengthen your foot muscles as part of your exercise routine. Strong foot muscles provide a good support to the plantar fascia. Change your shoes during the work week. Don't wear the same pair of
shoes every day. Perform Warm up exercises such as a short period of walking, a light jog or other easy movement and then stretch before starting the main exercise. Try to avoid dramatic changes in
your exercise routine. Increase your exercise level gradually. Donât run long distance if you are used to walk. Make the change slowly and gradually. Pay attention to your foot pain, do not ignore
it. Visit your doctor if the pain continues. Avoid the activities that cause you pain. Use over-the-counter Orthotics or inserts that your doctor may prescribe. Off-the-shelf or custom-fitted arch
supports (orthotics) will help distribute pressure to your feet more evenly. Try to avoid barefoot walking, since it may add stress on the plantar fascia ligament.