What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition which causes heel and arch pain. Plantar fasciitis pain can be traced to inflammation on the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis, which you may also have heard called Heel Spur Syndrome, is basically just an inflammation of the connective tissue in the foot. That connective tissue is the plantar fascia. It runs from the base of the toes, across the arch of the foot, and inserts into the heel bone.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
There are a number of potential causes of plantar fasciitis. The most common is overpronation. When an overpronator's foot rolls inward excessively when walking, it flattens their foot, lengthens their arch, and puts more tension on the plantar fascia. As time goes by, that extra strain can cause inflammation to develop.
Overweight people are also at a higher risk due to the extra strain placed on the plantar fascia. Some kind of trauma to the foot can be a cause as well. Even just working consistantly on hard surfaces, such as concrete, can cause the condition. Usually, it is a combination of things which leads to the pain starting.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Symptoms may includue:
- Pain when you first get out of bed in the morning. This morning foot pain usually fades as the plantar fasciitis sufferer walks around and the foot gets "stretched out."
- Pain, usually described as a sharp, stabbing pain, in the arch of the foot or the bottom of the heel.
- Pain that is usually worse when going from inactivity to activity, such as going from sitting to standing.
- Heel pain with walking. The pain is usually worse at the end of the day.
If you believe you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, you should see a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatments
Plantar fasciitis is usually treated successfully with conservative methods. Treatments may include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Ice packs
- Shoe modifications or changes
- Stretching exercises
- Orthotic devices
- Physical therapy.
Always remember to consult with your doctor before taking medications. In addition to these treatments, you can also try changing your workout regime. Switching to a lower impact routine for a while can help relieve plantar fasciitis pain.
What if Conservative Treatment Options are not Successful?
In persistent cases where conservative treatment options are not successful, there are further treatment options available, such as steroid injections, a walking cast, custom orthotic devices, or a night splint. Your doctor may also recommend Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (ESWT) or dry needling.A small percentage of plantar fasciitis patients may require surgery.