Posts for tag: plantar fasciitis
While heel pain is a common problem this doesn’t mean that it should just be brushed aside or considered a small matter. Untreated heel pain can lead to long-term pain and other problems. While there are many causes of heel pain the most common cause is plantar fasciitis. This condition causes irritation and inflammation within the thick band of tissue (known as the plantar fascia) that runs along the soles of the feet from the toes to the heel.
The telltale sign of plantar fasciitis is that the heel pain occurs under the heel beneath the heel bone. The pain may radiate to the arches of the feet because the plantar fascia provides support to the arches, as well. Heel pain may be worse first thing in the morning or after long bouts of inactivity. You may notice that your heel pain gets better with movement and exercise but gets worse immediately after.
Many people can treat plantar fasciitis effectively with at-home care; however, if your symptoms are severe, become worse or aren’t responding to conservative home treatments after five days then it’s time to see your podiatrist. A podiatrist will be able to provide you with answers as to what is causing your heel pain and how to best treat it.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Simple, conservative measures are usually all that’s needed to treat heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. This includes:
- Resting and avoiding exercise and high-impact activities that will make symptoms worse
- Icing the heel and arches of the feet up to 20 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
- Wearing supportive shoes with a low heel
- Placing custom orthotics within shoes for additional support
- Performing specific foot stretching and strengthening exercises
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and swelling
- Wearing a night splint to reduce morning pain and stiffness
Your foot doctor can show you a variety of exercises to perform that can alleviate heel pain and stiffness associated with plantar fasciitis. A podiatrist can also make prescription shoe inserts to provide your feet with the proper cushioning and structural support they need to reduce pressure points and improve the biomechanics of your feet.
Those with severe and persistent heel pain may require more aggressive treatment options such as ultrasound, steroid injections or shockwave therapy. Chronic plantar fasciitis may even require surgery to get rid of inflammation and tension within the plantar fascia. Surgery is rare but may be necessary when other treatment options have failed to properly manage and treat symptoms.
If you are dealing with heel pain for the first time it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist who can determine the cause of your pain and provide you with a customized treatment plan to get your heel pain under control.
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Heel pain
- Ankle sprains and fractures
- Foot fractures
- Sports-related injuries
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Corns and calluses
- Diabetic foot care
- Fungal infections
- Ingrown toenails
- Heel spurs
Understanding Heel Pain with Help from Your Podiatrist
- Wear shoes that fit well
- Wear proper shoes for each activity
- Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles
- Prepare properly before exercising by stretching and warming up
- Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities
- Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition
- Lose excess weight
Heel pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the long, dense band of connective tissue (the plantar fascia) that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot.
Repeated strain on the plantar fascia can cause tiny tears in the ligament. As tension and tearing increases, so does inflammation and irritation of the affected area. Risk factors of plantar fasciitis include foot arch problems (flat foot and high arches); excess weight; running; and a tight Achilles tendon.
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is gradually developing pain on the bottom of the heel. The pain is usually worst in the morning and after sitting or standing for a long period of time. For some, the pain subsides after walking or stretching.
To reduce pain associated with plantar fasciitis:
- Rest. Limit and/or avoid activities that make your heel hurt.
- Ice. Reduce pain and swelling by icing the affected area each day.
- Stretch. Stretch your heel throughout the day, especially when you first wake up in the morning.
- Footwear modifications. Wear shoes that provide good arch support and a cushioned sole. Ask your podiatrist about pads and shoe inserts to relieve your heel pain.
When conservative treatments aren't effective, or your pain persists for more than a few weeks, schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms and treatment options. A podiatrist can recommend an appropriate treatment plan for your individual needs. This may include stretching exercises, shoe padding, orthotic devices, night splints or therapy. Most patients respond to non-surgical treatments, but for pain that won't go away, surgery may be required.
With proper rest and treatment, recovering from plantar fasciitis can take just a few months. Visit us when you first experience pain for a diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan for your individual needs.
MY HEEL HURTS
By now you have probably already diagnosed yourself with Plantar fasciitis as you have goggled heel pain. Like many people that come into the office, they will tell me that their heel pain is worse after they have been sitting and once they have taken a couple of steps it will improve.Plantar fasciitis is sometimes known as a "heel spur". The term commonly used to refer to heel and arch pain is traced to an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. More specifically, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the connective tissue, called plantar fascia, that stretches from the base of the toes, across the arch of the foot, to the point at which it inserts into the heel bone. Overpronation is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis. As the foot rolls inward excessively when walking, it flattens the foot, lengthens the arch, and puts added tension on the plantar fascia. Generally it is considered an overuse injury and over time, this causes inflammation. People will ask me if their weight influences their heel pain. It may if you are overweight and a decrease in approximately 10lbs can be helpful.
Generally we will take x-rays to determine if there is a spur and to check for fractures and tumors that can occur in the heel bone. We are also able to measure the amount of inflammation a patient has with an ultrasound and monitor it over time. There can be times when the planatar fascia will actually rupture and will need to be treated appropriately.
Things you can try first is stretching and most people will have already tried OTC inserts. The problem with them is that if your heel pain does not go away is that it does not brace your foot enough to help with the uncontrolled overstretching that is occuring. A true custom orthotic that properly supports and braces your arch is the mainstay of treatment. It is imperative that you also perform proper controlled stretching exercises. As with any inflammatory condition one can also use of anti-inflammatory medications and ice packs. Often times Physical therapy is also helpful. There are times when your pain is so great that in order to calm things down a steroid injection is necessary.
So what if you have done all these things and you are not better. You may need to allow the foot to rest and decrease your activity with immobilization. Well doc, I have done that, now what. There are times when your heel pain needs to be addressed with surgery and depending on how your pain presents to your doctor you may need to have an open release along with lengthening your gastroc (heel cord area). Sometimes there is a nerve that also gets entrapped and we will look for that. There can be an alternative to the open release and that may be the use of Topaz and PRP. What does that mean you may ask. It essentially works at trying to convert your chronic inflammation to acute to get the body to heal itself. It is done through tiny holes about the size of a large needle and a wand is introduced that stimulates the fascia. PRP or platelet rich plasma is take from your own blood and the good things ie platelet is injected back into your heel to help the process along. It is up to your doctor to make the plan that is right for you depending on what is going on with your feet because often times more than than one thing may influence your treatment protocol. Here is to your feet, may they carry you through the rest of your days.