Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)

Heel pain is sometimes associated directly with plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the plantar fascia at the bottom of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. It is caused by repeated strain on the plantar fascia, the ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes, supporting the arch of the foot. A strained plantar fascia causes weakness, swelling, and inflammation, especially in one or both heels. Causes of plantar fasciitis include rolling the feet inward while walking; having high arches or flat feet; and running, walking, or standing for along periods of time. Symptoms include pain upon waking and pain while walking and climbing stairs.

Definition of Plantar Fasciitis:
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is due to inflammation of a thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia, which runs across the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes.

How is heel pain (plantar fasciitis) diagnosed?
The chief diagnostic sign of these problems is pain in the bottom of the heel or arch when first standing, which gradually improves with walking. This pain may later return with continued walking. The pain usually subsides after a period of rest.

What are the causes of Plantar Fasciitis?
Under normal circumstances, the plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch of the foot. But when the tension on the bowstring becomes too great, it creates small tears in the fascia. Repetitive stretching and tearing causes the fascia to become irritated or inflamed.

How to prevent heel pain (plantar fasciitis)?
Maintaining a healthy weight minimizes the stress on the plantar fascia and choosing supportive shoes by avoiding high heels and buy shoes with a low to moderate heel, good arch support and shock absorbency. Do not go barefoot, especially on hard surfaces.

What are the treatment options available for plantar fasciitis?
About 90 percent of people who suffer from plantar fasciitis recover with conservative treatments in just a few months. Anti-inflammatory drugs will be able to reduce pain and inflammation, although they do not treat the underlying problem. Anti-inflammatory injection will help to reduce the inflammation of the soft tissue. If the symptom persisted, Shockwave therapy or Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy may be performed to treat the plantar fasciitis.

When does surgery for plantar fasciitis become a treatment option?
Surgery should be reserved for patients who have made every effort to fully participate in conservative treatments, but continue to have pain from plantar fasciitis. Patients should fit the following criteria:

  • Symptoms for at least 6 months of treatment
  • Participation in daily treatments (exercises, stretches, etc.)
  • Understanding of the potential risks and benefits of surgery

If you fit these criteria, then surgery may be an option in the treatment of your plantar fasciitis.

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