The plantar fascia is a connective tissue that runs from the heel to your toes along the bottom of your foot. This band creates the arch of your foot and acts like a shock absorber as you walk, run and jump. Overuse and other factors can result in inflammation of the plantar fascia, a condition called plantar fasciitis. If you are experiencing heel pain in the morning or after extensive time on your feet, you may have plantar fasciitis.
Who Is at Risk for Plantar Fasciitis?
Irritation or injury to the plantar fascia can result in inflammation, which is the main cause of plantar fasciitis. Certain conditions and activities can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Some of the risk factors include:
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Standing for long periods, especially on hard surfaces
- Poor footwear
- Long-distance running
Stress on the feet can damage the plantar fasciitis. Most people with this condition complain their heel hurts the worst when they first get up in the morning, with pain dissipating as they become more active. The pain can return later in the day after standing for long periods or putting strain on the feet with athletic activities.
Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis
Mild to moderate plantar fasciitis can be treated with conservative treatments. Rest, supportive footwear, stretches, ice and other home treatments can often relieve the heel pain of an inflamed plantar fascia. If the condition is severe or chronic, you may benefit from medical treatments. These can include:
- Steroid injections to relieve inflammation
- Prescription orthotics
- Physical therapy
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy
In cases where these treatments are ineffective, surgery may be recommended to address chronically inflamed or tight plantar fascia tissue. This is not common, but surgery can be beneficial when other therapy options do not offer relief from heel pain and mobility issues.
If you have heel pain and symptoms of plantar fasciitis, there are treatments to give you relief. If you want to explore medical therapy for your heel pain, contact the office of Shoulder & Knees to schedule an appointment with Dr. Steven Struhl.