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What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Dr. Johansen can treat your heel pain. What is Plantar Fasciitis? 

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of pain in the heel. The ligament connecting your heel to the front of your foot is called the plantar facia. It absorbs the shock of walking or running and supports the arch of your foot. Over our lifetime, these ligaments may become susceptible to inflammation, causing heel pain and stiffness. 

What are the symptoms?

Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pains at the bottom of the heel or middle of the foot. Both feet can experience this pain, although it’s typically just one.  

Most people who suffer from plantar fasciitis experience pain with their first steps in the morning and find the pain diminishes once they get moving. However, the pain typically returns after long periods of standing or after long periods of sitting or lying down. 

When a person is active, and on their feet for long periods, plantar fasciitis’s painful symptoms can flare up due to increased inflammation. Most people don’t experience the pain during increased activity but will feel the discomfort right after. 

How is it caused?

Plantar Fasciitis is most common in women. Ordinarily active men and women between 40 and 70 develop plantar fasciitis for varying reasons, including:

  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women may experience plantar fasciitis later in their pregnancy. 

  • Obesity: Generally due to increased pressure on the plantar fascia ligaments, especially if there is sudden weight gain. 

  • Activity: Runners, or people standing on their feet for long periods at work, are more susceptible. 

  • Foot Structure: People with high arches or flat feet can cause plantar fasciitis, or if you continually wear soft sole or low arch support shoes. 

How is it treated?

Common home treatments like rest, ice, heat, anti-inflammatory medications are where we start treating plantar fasciitis. If this doesn’t ease the discomfort, your doctor may use cortisone injections, splints, braces, or physical therapy and custom orthotics.  

Other modalities can help with these symptoms if they become chronic, such as platelet injections, radiofrequency therapy, and surgery. Surgery can be beneficial if other treatments fail. 

Recent endoscopic plantar fascial releases have been very successful for those candidates opting for surgery with minimal foot invasion and quicker recovery.

Some other causes of heel pain may be a tarsal tunnel, bursitis, posterior heel pain, and stress fractures.

How long does it last?

Most people find Plantar Fasciitis improves after just a few months of using the home remedies described above.  

When active, it does help to stabilize your foot with tape to limit the amount your foot can move. And taping may provide temporary relief of heel pain. 

Surgery is typically not needed for most people suffering from plantar fasciitis. When mindful use of home therapies is adopted, conditions will improve. However, you may need to use these remedies for several months to years. 

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