Plantar Fasciitis is a painful foot condition that affects the Plantar Fascia tendon that runs along the bottom of the foot (as seen in the picture). This tendon runs along the arches of the foot.
Sometimes this tendon can become sore from normal use or strenuous activity, but this is not to be confused with the pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis. Small tears in the plantar fascia tendon
can cause foot discomfort and pain, if left untreated, can become unbearable (seen in picture below). These tears are made worse by over-use, strenuous activity, weight gain, improper foot wear and a
variety of other factors. Although there is no one absolute cause for the condition, it remains clear that this condition, while painful, can be corrected with products such as footwear, night
splints, insoles and a variety of other plantar fasaciitis products.
Plantar fasciitis generally occurs over time, rather than being the result of a single event. Micro trauma from repetitive stress to the tissue often combines with a biomechanical deficiency of the
foot to produce the condition. In addition, arthritic and metabolic factors may contribute to the development of this injury, (though they are unlikely to affect young athletes). A variety of
training errors commonly lead to plantar fasciitis, particularly a rapid increase in either volume or intensity of athletic activity. Volume refers to the distance or time an athlete performs, while
intensity refers to the pace of activity and/or the recovery time allowed following performance.
Among the symptoms for Plantar Fasciitis is pain usually felt on the underside of the heel, often most intense with the first steps after getting out of bed in the morning. It is commonly associated
with long periods of weight bearing or sudden changes in weight bearing or activity. Plantar Fasciitis also called âpolicemanâs heelâ is presented by a sharp stabbing pain at the bottom or
front of the heel bone. In most cases, heel pain is more severe following periods of inactivity when getting up and then subsides, turning into a dull ache.
Your doctor can usually diagnose plantar fasciitis just by talking to you and examining your feet. Rarely, tests are needed if the diagnosis is uncertain or to rule out other possible causes of heel
pain. These can include X-rays of the heel or an ultrasound scan of the fascia. An ultrasound scan usually shows thickening and swelling of the fascia in plantar fasciitis.
Non Surgical Treatment
Treatment initially involves offloading the plantar fascia by aoiding aggravating factors, such as running. Taping, this can work very well to alleviate pain, and can be almost immediate. It isn't a
long-term solution, but can relieve symptoms in the beginning. Using a night splint to stretch the calf, so that less load is placed on the plantar fascia (if tightness in the calf is a factor).
Using a gel heel cup, this can act to increase shock absorption, and by raising the heel there is also less stretch on the calf. So, temporarily, this may relieve pain in someone who has a tight
calf. Massage, but this depends if the plantarfascia is actually tight or just painful. If it is tight, then massage can temporarily relieve the pain, but if it is irritated then taping and
corrective footwear is preferable.
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 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 for plantar fasciitis, the underlying causes that led to this condition may remain. Therefore, you will need to continue with preventive measures. Wearing supportive
shoes, stretching, and using custom orthotic devices are the mainstay of long-term treatment for plantar fasciitis.
To reduce your risk of getting plantar fasciitis take these steps. Wear appropriate and well-fitted footwear during sports and exercise. Do stretching exercises for the Achilles tendon and plantar
fascia. Increase the intensity and duration of exercise gradually. Maintain an appropriate weight.