Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition that causes heel pain due to inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs along the length of your foot. This condition is notably common in runners and people who are overweight. In the U.S., about 2 million patients each year receive plantar fasciitis treatment.
The time when plantar fasciitis is most likely to develop is between 40 and 60 years of age. Left untreated, plantar fasciitis can lead to increased pain, decreased mobility, and complications due to changes in the way you walk.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
You may notice the following symptoms of plantar fasciitis, which may intensify over time:
- Pain in the heel of your foot, especially after getting up in the morning or after a long period of sitting
- Pain in the heel that is stronger after exercise than during exercise
- Heel pain beginning as a stabbing pain and lessening after some time
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
There are several factors that may put you at a higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis:
- Being a runner
- Being overweight
- Having flatfeet or high arch feet, or tight calf muscles
- Working a job that involves a lot of time on your feet
What to Expect at Your Appointment
To diagnose plantar fasciitis, the podiatrist will examine your heel and foot to check on your arch, the mobility of your ankle, and to determine the point where you feel pain or tenderness. Imaging tests usually are not necessary, but an x-ray or MRI may be ordered to rule out other causes of pain.
Non-surgical Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis
The best treatment for plantar fasciitis is simple stretching. Your podiatric surgeon can recommend a number of stretching techniques that help you to get at the right muscles. Depending on the severity of your condition, treatments may include:
- Resting your foot
- Icing your foot
- Oral anti-inflammatory medication
- Orthotic shoe inserts for arch support
- Night splints that stretch the plantar fascia
- Physical therapy
- Corticosteroid injections
Surgical Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis and Post-treatment
Surgery is a last resort for plantar fascia treatment, when non-surgical treatment has not produced success for a year. In this case, a podiatric surgeon may suggest different surgical options including Platelet Rich Plasma injections or plantar fascia release.
Plantar fascia surgery may require a 6-10 week recovery time.
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