Plantar fasciitis is the top cause of heel pain. It also causes 10% of runner-related injuries and represents about 15% of all foot problems needing medical care. At InStride Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas, Eric Ward, DPM, and Blaise Woeste, DPM, have extensive experience creating customized treatment plans that relieve the pain and inflammation of plantar fasciitis. Don’t put up with heel pain. Call one of the offices in Matthews or Monroe, North Carolina, or schedule an appointment online.
A ligament called the plantar fascia attaches to your heel, runs along the bottom of your foot, and connects to your toes. The plantar fascia supports the arches and serves as a shock absorber every time your foot hits the ground. When the ligament becomes inflamed, you have plantar fasciitis.
The problem develops when the ligament sustains ongoing stress. The most common sources of this type of stress include:
Plantar fasciitis only gets worse when you keep walking and putting stress on the ligament after it’s injured and inflamed.
If you have plantar fasciitis, you’ll have heel pain. Your heel may also become swollen and you could develop pain in the arch.
The heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis is typically worse when you first start walking after you get up from sleeping or resting. That’s because the ligament tightens when you’re not active.
Depending on the severity of the inflammation, the pain improves as you keep moving and the ligament stretches.
After reviewing your medical history and symptoms and completing a physical exam, your podiatrist at InStride Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas may order diagnostic imaging to rule out other problems that could contribute to your symptoms, such as an ankle injury.
The first step in your treatment is giving the ligament time to heal. Your podiatrist may immobilize your foot and recommend modifying your activities.
Though you need to rest the ligament, plantar fasciitis responds well to an exercise regimen that includes gentle stretching. As the ligament heals, your podiatrist also adds strengthening exercises to your treatment.
You may need shoe inserts or customized orthotics that are specially designed to support your heel and relieve pressure on the ligament. Your podiatrist may also prescribe orthotics to correct structural problems that contribute to plantar fasciitis, such as arch problems.
Depending on the severity of the inflammation and pain, you may receive topical pain medication or an injection of corticosteroids. As the last resort, and only after conservative therapies don’t help, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to release tension on the ligament.
If you develop heel pain, call InStride Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas or book an appointment online.