Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of adult foot pain. Plantar fasciitis is defined as a strain in the ligaments at the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia is a pearly white, fibrinous tissue that connects from your heel up to your toes. It provides support to the toes when the heel rises. The fascia can become strained from jumping or prolonged standing. A strain can make it weak and swollen. Repeated strain causes small tears in the fascia and continued pain.
What are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
The most common symptom is pain under the heel and sole of the foot. It can also cause tenderness and swelling in the foot or heel. The pain is usually worse when stepping out of bed in the morning. This is due to the position of the foot while sleeping. The foot naturally relaxes and the fascia is shortened. When you step out of bed in the morning it causes the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia to stretch. After a few steps the pain improves but it returns as the day continues especially if you are active and spend a lot of time walking, standing or working out.
Who is at Risk for Plantar Fasciitis?
People who engage in activities such as marching, dancing and especially runners are at risk for developing plantar fasciitis. It is also more common in people age 40-60 but can be found in younger aged avid runners. It is most common among runners and if you are a runner that does excessive training, is obese, runs on uneven surfaces, has flat feet or high arches and does prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces you are at higher risk of developing it. Plantar fasciitis is also common in people who have bone spurs and who have decreased ankle mobility. If you engage in an activity that causes stress to the Achilles tendon the result is increased stress and strain to the plantar fascia.
How is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?
A foot exam by a provider can help diagnose Plantar Fasciitis. The exam consists of dorsiflexing the foot while holding the toes stretched with one hand and palpating with the thumb along the fascia from the heel to the forefoot. Sometimes the symptoms and exam are enough to diagnose plantar fasciitis. If your provider is suspicious of another condition or if you have prolonged pain with treatment and rest, then an x-ray may be ordered to rule out another injury that can cause similar pain such as a fracture.
How is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?
The initial treatment includes rest from activities that cause pain. Ice can help reduce pain and swelling as well as over the counter medications such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen Sodium. Stretching your toe, foot and calf several times a day can also help. Purchasing a new pair of shoes with a good arch and heel support is also recommended. Your provider may also prescribe a brace to sleep in to help keep your foot and calf stretched at night. Trigger point injections with Lidocaine and Marcaine can help relieve pain and reduce swelling to assist in repair in combination with physical therapy modalities. We can help diagnose and treat plantar fasciitis with a natural approach to relieve your pain and help you return to your active lifestyle.