Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain on the bottom of the heel, with approximately two million individuals treated for this condition every year. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the strong band of tissue that supports the arch of your foot becomes irritated and inflamed, resulting in heel pain.
This condition is sometimes called heel spur syndrome when a spur is present. Heel pain may also be due to other causes, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, or nerve irritation. Because there are several potential causes, it is important to have heel pain properly diagnosed. Your Southern Bone & Joint Specialists podiatrist is able to distinguish between all the possibilities and determine the underlying source of your heel pain.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
People with plantar fasciitis often describe the pain as worse when they get up in the morning or after they’ve been sitting for long periods of time. After a few minutes of walking, the pain decreases because walking stretches the fascia. For some people the pain subsides but can return after spending long periods of time on their feet.
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis relates to a faulty structure of the foot. People who have problems with their arches, overly flat feet, or high-arched feet are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis.
Wearing non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces puts abnormal strain on the plantar fascia and can lead to plantar fasciitis. This is particularly evident when your job requires long hours on you feet. Obesity may also contribute to plantar fasciitis.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis begins with strategies that you can begin at home:
If you still have pain after several weeks, see your foot and ankle surgeon, who may add one or more of these treatment approaches:
Although most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to non-surgical treatment, a small percentage of patients may require surgery. If, after several months of non-surgical treatment, you continue to have heel pain, surgery will be considered. Your Southern Bone & Joint Specialists foot and ankle surgeon will discuss the surgical options with you and determine which approach would be most beneficial for you.
No matter what kind of treatment you undergo, the underlying causes that led to plantar fasciitis may remain. You should continue with preventive measures, such as wearing supportive shoes, stretching, and using custom orthotic devices.