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The Ultimate Guide to Plantar Fasciitis

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The Ultimate Guide to Plantar Fasciitis

Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement | Posted on 12/30/2022 by Dr. Aashish K. Sharma



You get out of your bed in the morning and as soon as you take your first steps you experience stabbing and burning pain on your foot's bottom. Have you ever thought, it could be a sign of plantar fasciitis? If not, then you must.

There is nothing that can disrupt your routine as much as the pain that averts you from moving around. If you observe signs of pain in the bottom of your feet often, it might be worth visiting an orthopedic doctor.

Usually, pain in the bottom of the heel is one of the primary signs of plantar fasciitis. There is a probability that your plantar fascia ligament is inflamed and causing you pain. You might find relief with nonsurgical treatment, but that also depends on the cause and the extent of the inflammation. In severe cases, there is a requirement for surgical procedures.

In this write-up, we will dig deep into the plantar fasciitis condition, its symptoms, causes, and treatment options that might work for you.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is known to be one of the common orthopedic complaints these days causing pain usually in the bottom of the heel. The plantar fascia appears like a thick and web-like ligament connecting your heel to the foot front. It acts like a shock absorber supporting the foot arch and helps you walk.

The plantar fascia ligament has to go through a lot of wear and tear daily and putting excessive pressure on your feet causes damage or might tear the ligaments. As a result, plantar fascia experience inflammation issues which lead to stiffness, heel pain, etc.

What are the Plantar Fasciitis symptoms?

One of the primary plantar fasciitis symptoms is pain at the bottom of your heel or at times at the bottom of the midfoot area. Usually, this condition affects one foot, however, it is not always the case. One can experience the problem in both feet.

Plantar fasciitis pain grows gradually over time and the pain can be very stabbing. Sometimes, pain can be felt on the bottom of the foot extending outward from the heel.

If you are experiencing this condition, then you will notice that the pain is worse usually in the morning when you try taking your first steps in the morning. You will face problems when trying to climb stairs due to stiffness in the heel.

After the persistent activity, pain leads to increased inflammation and irritation. You will also observe that you usually don’t experience pain when you are indulged in some activity, but right after you stop, you feel throbbing pain.  

Who gets Plantar Fasciitis and why?

Plantar fasciitis causes usually involves irritation and damage to the plantar fascia. There are many other reasons as well which include:

  • Standing on your feet all day for work
  • Always playing sports
  • Working and exercising on hard surfaces
  • Exercises without including stretching and warming up
  • Always wear uncomfortable shoes
  • Always moving around barefoot when you are at home

There are health conditions as well causing plantar fasciitis such as high arch feet, flat feet, and obesity.

How is Plantar Fasciitis diagnosed?

A healthcare expert will begin by performing a physical evaluation to check for any signs of tenderness in the foot and to identify the precise pain location. It helps in making sure that pain is not an outcome of any other different health condition.

While the doctor is examining your foot, he/she will ask you to flex your foot by pushing on the plantar fascia. It will assist the doctor to understand whether the pain gets worse when you try to flex. The doctor will also look for signs of swelling or mild redness. He/she will continue evaluating your muscle strength and the nerve's health by checking your reflexes, muscle tone, touch sense, coordination, and balance.

Imaging tests

Your doctor might order imaging tests as it helps in revealing structural and tissue information within the foot.

So, they might order an X-ray or MRI test for identifying the heel pain causes such as a bone fracture. However, these tests do not help get a complete look at soft tissues but still are useful to rule out any chances of bone fractures, heel spurs, and other probabilities. With MRI, it becomes easier for the doctor to identify if the plantar fascia has thickened or if there is swelling in the tissues.

Your doctor might also recommend an ultrasound for calcifications, thickening, and other problems.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

You can find the plantar fasciitis cure at home easily and through over-the-counter medications. Your healthcare expert will recommend options to relieve symptoms and support your feet for eliminating the probability of plantar fasciitis in the future.

Here are the common plantar fasciitis treatment options your doctor might suggest:

  • Over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. are recommended which help in reducing pain and inflammation.
  • If your doctor suspects that it can be painful, then you will be recommended to take a break or rest from playing sports. You shouldn’t play any activity that might be among the plantar fasciitis reasons.
  • Icing your foot is another recommended as it will benefit in relieving inflammation.
  • Always ensure wearing supportive shoes which are well-cushioned and sturdy. Avoid wearing flip-flops and other flat shoes and also avoid walking with bare feet.
  • Your doctor will recommend some massaging and stretching techniques to be performed on your foot and calf muscles.
  • Corticosteroids are also recommended by your doctor as they have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • There might be a need for surgery but it applies in very rare cases. The two common types of surgeries are gastrocnemius recession and plantar fascial release.

How can you prevent plantar fasciitis?

There are certain steps you can take for preventing plantar fasciitis which are:

  • One of the finest ways is to avoid overusing your feet.
  • Make sure that you give time to your feet and let them rest as they can recover after intense exercise.
  • Ensure not walking barefoot on hard surfaces.
  • You must also take care of changing or replacing your shoes after every six to nine months.

Conclusion

Plantar fasciitis is one of the orthopedic conditions which might be hard to identify initially. It is known to be among the most common causes of heel pain. If you experience heel pain regularly, talk to your healthcare expert if it doesn’t get better within a week. Your doctor will recommend you at-home treatment options to relieve the symptoms like pain and inflammation in the foot. If you still experience the pain, then he/she will recommend the clinical treatment options for your condition. The most important part is you have to ensure following everything that your doctor recommends to treat the condition.

FAQs

When should you visit a doctor?

You should ensure to visit a doctor if you experience pain in your heel or foot that doesn’t get better within a week on its own and if your symptoms aren’t getting better even after two weeks of treatment.

How long does plantar fasciitis last?

You can see improvement as soon as you begin treatment for the plantar fasciitis condition. However, it may take around a few weeks to a few months for complete healing.