The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that lies directly beneath the skin on the bottom of the foot
An inflammation of the thick band of tissue at the bottom of the foot, plantar fasciitis can cause a stabbing, intense pain in the heel. Pain will typically be at it’s worst in the morning and decreases with movement. Pain may also be experienced if a person has been on their feet for long periods of time throughout the day. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia supports the muscles and arch of the foot. This ligament connects the heel bone to the toes. Too much stress can cause the ligament to stretch, which can result in damage or tears. The damaged or irritated ligament will become inflamed and cause pain and stiffness.
Running, a very high foot arch, wearing footwear with poor support, and being overweight can create a high level of stress on the plantar fascia and increase the risk of developing this condition.
A podiatrist will review your medical history, perform a physical exam and may order X-rays. X-rays would be ordered to confirm that your symptoms are not being caused by a different foot disorder like heel spurs, arthritis or a fracture. During a physical exam, the doctor checks for tenderness, the arch of the foot, foot movements that cause pain, and the ankle’s range of motion.
Conservative Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
The majority of patients that have plantar fasciitis will be able to improve their condition using conservative, non-operative methods. A podiatrist will typically recommend a combination of treatments that may include:
- Activity Modification
- Physical Therapy
- Anti-Inflammatory Medication
- Ice Packs
- Supportive Footwear
- Custom Orthotics
- Night Splint
- Shockwave Therapy
- Cortisone Injections
Some patients may be candidates for a regenerative treatment like PRP therapy or BMAC therapy based on their condition and medical history. Regenerative treatments for plantar fasciitis are usually an option for patients who are having difficulty managing pain and restoring functionality using conservative methods. PRP therapy and BMAC therapy may be used to help accelerate the healing process and reduce inflammation, which should increase functionality and reduce pain in the area. Regenerative therapies have become a popular form of treatment for conditions that do not heal quickly on their own.
Tenex is also a popular alternative to a traditional surgical procedure for patients who are experiencing chronic pain. A minimall invasive Tenex procedure for plantar fasciitis takes approximately 20 minutes and should result in less down time and discomfort than a traditional surgical procedure.
Surgery For Plantar Fasciitis
The overwhelming majority of patients with plantar fasciitis will be able to treat the condition using non-surgical treatment methods within a year. Surgery may be considered if non-surgical methods fail to help a patient manage their pain over time. Surgical treatment for plantar fasciitis can include:
Plantar Fascia Release – A patient who is experiencing chronic pain but still has a full range of motion may benefit from a palntar fascia release procedure. During this procedure the plantar fascia ligamenet is partially cut (released) to reduce tension tension.
Gastrocnemius Recession – Endscopic procedure done to surgically lengthen the calf muscle and increase the range of motion in the ankle. Patients experiencing chronic calf muscle tightness may be candidates for this procedure.
Podiatry At The CMD
Our podiatrist are highly experienced at treating patients who are experiencing heel pain and other painful disorders of the foot. Schedule an appointment at The Center For Musculoskeletal Disorders and have a specialist diagnose, evaluate and advise you on an individualized treatment plan to address pain and mobility issues.