What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. For some people, it can mean stabbing pain that occurs with your first steps in the morning. Usually after getting up and moving around, the pain decreases. But for many people suffering from plantar fasciitis, it might return long after periods of standing. Pain may also occur from standing up after sitting for long periods of time. It comes from inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes.
What Are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
If you have pain and tenderness at the bottom of your foot, you may have plantar fasciitis. The tenderness is usually located near the heel, but sometimes the entire sole of the foot hurts. Plantar fasciitis typically begins gradually with mild pain in the heel, often referred to as a stone bruise. Most people feel it after, rather than during exercise. The pain usually occurs right after getting out of bed in the morning and after sitting. It can often make walking and running difficult, especially on hard surfaces. Sometimes the bottom of the foot can feel warm, swollen, and tender.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
There are some risk factors associated with plantar fasciitis. These include:
- Age-People between the ages of 40 and 70 are at the highest risk for developing plantar fasciitis.
- Gender-Females tend to develop plantar fasciitis at higher rates. Pregnant women experience the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. It commonly occurs in the later stages of pregnancy.
- Activity level-Runners are at risk for developing plantar fasciitis, especially those with tight calf muscles. Tight calf muscles limit how far you can flex your ankles which can put strain on your feet. Any exercise that places lots of stress on heels or attached tissues. This could include ballet dancing or high-impact exercises. Jobs that require you to stand or work on hard surfaces for long hours can contribute to plantar fasciitis. Typically this includes teachers, doctors, factory workers, and restaurant workers.
- Weight-If you are overweight or obese, you are at higher risk. Excess weight can place extra pressure on your foot and leg ligaments.
- Foot mechanics-If you have flat feet, a high arch, or even an abnormal pattern of walking, you may develop plantar fasciitis. Those with a tight achilles tendon, the tendon that attaches your calf muscle to your heel, could develop pain from plantar fasciitis. Although doctors used to believe that heel spurs cause plantar fasciitis, heel spurs do not actually cause it.
How is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?
Physicians at the Pain Relief Center will perform a physical exam and learn about the history of your condition. Sometimes to rule out other causes of heel pain such as fractures, tumors, or heel spurs, we will perform an x-ray. We also sometimes use ultrasound imaging and MRIs to diagnose plantar fasciitis.
Taking pain relieving medicines such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. You should not take these for more than a month. Talk with your physician about how to take these.
Physical therapy. This may include stretching and strengthening your leg muscles which will help stabilize your ankle and heel.
Icing the areas that are painful. Wearing splints at night to stretch your calf and foot while you sleep.
Rest. You might need to stop performing activities that cause you pain
After beginning treatment, you should expect to see improvement within 10 months. If you are still experiencing pain after that, your doctor at the pain relief center may suggest more serious treatments. Those could include shots of cortisone, a type of steroid. Cortisone reduces the inflammation that causes pain. In rare cases, we might recommend surgery.
How Can You Prevent Plantar Fasciitis?
Wearing supportive shoes with arch support can reduce your risk for plantar fasciitis. Replace your footwear regularly. If you are a runner, be sure to replace your shoes after about every 500 miles that you run. Always be sure to stretch your calves, achilles tendon and plantar fascia before exercising. Incorporate low-impact exercising into your routine such as swimming or biking. This will help prevent stress on your feet and legs.
Staying at a healthy weight will not only improve your overall health, it may reduce your risk of plantar fasciitis.
Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment. The experts at the Pain Relief Center are dedicated to helping you reduce or eliminate the pain from plantar fasciitis.
The most critical step on the path to recovery is finding a pain management doctor who can address your pain management needs successfully. The Pain Relief Center and its five specialized institutes are dedicated to meeting any and all of a patient’s needs. Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Dr. Rodriguez and his friendly staff will help you along the path to recovery.
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