What is Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis is a common injury that occurs from overuse of the foot, more specifically heel. The plantar fascia ligament is a thick non-elastic band of fibrous tissue that runs from all five metatarsal heads and attaches onto the calcaneus (heel bone). Its main function is to support the medial longitudinal arch of the foot. If you strain the plantar fascia, it gets swollen and inflamed causing heel pain. The inflammation typically progresses rapidly as we use our feet to provide us with mobility. Since it is difficult to rest the foot, the situation is aggravated with every step taken. The problem progresses rapidly and treatment must start as soon as possible. Plantar fasciitis occurs from straining the plantar fascia ligament, and repeated strains can turn into tearing.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
People with this injury experience classic foot pain. Typically, this “stabbing” heel pain is most often experienced early in the day, when you first get out of bed. It can often be triggered by long bouts of standing and when you first get out of a seat (after a period of rest). Generally speaking, heel pain varies by how much (and how often) there is weight on it.
Plantar Fasciitis Risk Factors
There are many risk factors that can lead to plantar fasciitis. People that have high arches, flat feet, or feet that roll inward (excessive pronation) are naturally prone to the injury. Those that are overweight are also susceptible. People that run excessively or stand for long-periods of time are also at risk. Finally, the “foot pain” injury is most common for people between the ages of 40 – 60.
Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis
During a physical exam, we test for points of tenderness on your foot. The location of your foot or heel pain, along with present history and risk factors, can help with a diagnosis. X-rays aren’t typically necessary as they do not show ligaments, such as the planta fascia, very clearly. After an examination, courses for plantar fasciitis treatment are recommended.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
The vast majority of cases involving Plantar Fasciitis will be resolved within six months with routine treatment and care. Typical treatment plans and therapy is non-surgical and consists of stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as the use of special devices. An example of stretching exercises would be those involving the stretching of the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. These exercises, in combination with strengthening lower leg muscles, help rehabilitate the heel. Night splints can also help with plantar fasciitis treatment by stretching the arch of the foot. Splints hold the plantar fascia in a lengthened position overnight and promote stretching. Orthotics can also be a good option as they help distribute pressure more evenly across the foot.
If none of the traditional non-surgical methods work, other options are available. Talking to your healthcare practitioner is always best so you can determine the best solution that fits your needs.
Plantar Fasciitis Shoes
There are various options on the market, both regular and orthopedic. The best shoes for plantar fasciitis really depend on personal choice (appearance) and comfort. Asics Gel Nimbus and Gel Kayano are great choices if running shoes are an option. The “heel system” by Asics provides extra support, and receives great customer reviews. Orthopedic brand options are Drew and Apex. These shoes are typically made of leather and have Velcro straps to hold the foot in place. Contact us today to see what we have available.
Premier recommends in-office modalities such as stretching and exercises, at-home modalities such as prescription topical and oral medications, icing, stretching and exercises as well as footwear and orthotic usage. More invasive management may include corticosterioid injections and shock wave therapy, which is offered at select locations.