What is Plantar Fasciitis?
- Plantar fasciitis is a common condition affecting the ligament (plantar fascia) that supports the arch of the foot.
- The ligament attaches to the bottom of the heel and courses at the bottom of the foot(the arch) and connects to the ball of the foot.
- When the ligament becomes strained, the area where it attaches to the heel becomes inflamed and causes pain.
What are the causes of Plantar Fasciitis?
- The most common cause of pain on the bottom of the heel stems from tight muscles in the calf.
- Other contributing factors include flat feet, obesity, and excessive walking and standing.
- An associated heel spur may sometimes cause pain on the bottom of the heel, but most commonly it is not a contributing factor.
- The spur develops from progressive strain on the plantar fascia, which pulls at the area where the ligament attaches, thus resulting in the formation of a heel spur.
What are the symptoms ?
- Patients complain of pain directly on the bottom of the heel, or in the arches.
- The pain may be dull and mild or severe and sharp. In severe cases, patients may not be able to put weight on the heel at all.
- Most common symptom is pain in the morning or with the first step after periods of rest or inactivity(post-static dykenesia).
Non surgical treatments
- Custom foot and ankle orthotics- A custom foot orthotic is a doctor prescribed arch support that is made directly from a mold of your feet, which can aid in realigning the foot to a proper position to prevent the stretch of the plantar fascia.
- Physical Therapy - therapy is aimed at stretching the tight posterior muscle group, which extends its fibers to the plantar fascia and causes tightness in the plantar fascia as well
- Immobilization - Taping the foot and ankle in proper position, may take the strain off the plantar fascia and lead to relief of symptoms and allow for transition into foot/ankle orthosis.
- Anti-inflammatory medications - these medications fight the inflammatory process which causes pain within joints or tendons. When combined with other conservative options, it can aid in the resolution of pain.
Corticosteroid injections - A cortisone injection is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication that is used to rapidly reduce the pain associated with inflammation. Cortisone shots can be extremely effective in alleviating symptoms.