Plantar fasciitis (fashee-EYE-tiss) is the most common cause of heel pain. Approximately 2 million patients are treated for this condition every year.
What causes PLANTAR FASCIITIS
In the shape of a bowstring, the plantar fascia is designed to absorb the high stresses and strains placed on our feet. Too much pressure can damage or create small tears in the tissue over time, resulting in a stabbing pain near the heel. Repeated stretching and tearing irritates and inflames the fascia, exacerbating the symptoms.
Although to root cause of plantar fasciitis remains unclear in many cases, there are risk factors that make certain people more susceptible than others. These risk factors include:
- Age: Plantar Fasciitis is most common between patients between the ages of 40-60
- Certain types of exercises: Activities placing a large amount of stress on your feet and heel can contribute to Plantar Fasciitis, i.e running and dance
- Obesity: As little as one pound above your idea weight can increase pressure on your joints and feet by as much as eight pounds. This stress has a large effect on your Plantar Fascia
- Foot mechanics: Any foot abnormality such as flat feet, a high arch, or poor gait mechanics can affect weight distribution and cause Plantar Fasciitis
- Occupations that keep you on your feet: Walking or standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time can contribute to the onset of Plantar Fasciitis
SYMPTOMS OF PLANTAR FASCIITIS
Patients with Plantar Fasciitis typically describe the sensation as a stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel. Typically the worst with the first few steps in the morning, daily activities can exacerbate pain as well. Stranding for long periods of time, standing up after sitting, and exercise can increase pain. In terms of exercising, the pain is usually worse after exercising, not during it.
What is the best treatment for plantar fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis usually resolves itself with several months of conservative treatment. Your doctor may prescribe pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medications along with a physical therapy regime. Your foot and ankle specialist or physical therapist may also suggest night splints or orthotics to place into your shoes and aid in the redistribution of pressure to your feet.
If conservative treatments do not work after several months, your doctor might recommend injections of a steroid to provide temporary pain relief. It is rare that Plantar Fasciitis requires surgery, but in a few cases patients may need surgery to detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone.