The Podiatrist’s Guide to Plantar Fasciitis

plantar fasciitis
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Here’s what you need to know about the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and how to treat this common foot condition.

Plantar fasciitis affects almost two million Americans every year, and is the most common cause of pain in the bottom of the heel. If left untreated, chronic pain in the foot can make it difficult to walk and lead to knee, hip, or back problems down the line.

While plantar fasciitis can affect anyone, it is most common in people between the ages of 40 and 60. The condition is an inflammation of the fibrous tissue (plantar fascia) along the bottom of your foot and stems from strain on the arch of the foot, so people with high arches, flat feet, or even an abnormal walking gait may be at an increased risk. Runners who repetitively impact the foot and people who are overweight also put extra stress on their plantar fascia.

While this condition may be painful, there are simple ways to alleviate your symptoms and address the underlying cause of your discomfort. Find out how you can spot the warning signs of plantar fasciitis and seek out effective treatment.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the base of the toes. Normally, it acts like a cord under the arch of the foot and absorbs stress. But as tension on the cord increases, small tears may arise and cause the plantar fascia to become irritated and inflamed.

Pain at the bottom of the heel is the first sign of plantar fasciitis. While the condition can be triggered by long periods of walking or standing up, the pain usually worsens after exertion or exercise. More severe cases of plantar fasciitis can cause a stabbing pain that occurs during your first steps in the morning.

HOW CAN PLANTAR FASCIITIS BE TREATED?

If pain in your heel persists for more than two days, it is recommended that you see a podiatrist who can diagnose your condition with a physical examination and X-ray imaging. You may be able to avoid a full-blown case of plantar fasciitis by treating the affected area with anti-inflammatories and physical therapy at the first sign of heel pain.

In severe cases, your doctor may recommend more intensive treatment methods. Steroid injections can ease the pain for about a month and keep inflammation down. Shockwave therapy sends sound waves into the plantar fascia to stun the nerves and stop pain. This treatment also stimulates blood flow in the feet to promote faster healing. If the tissue in the plantar fascia becomes damaged beyond natural repair, surgery may be required to remove dead tissue. Afterwards, it is recommended that you do not put pressure on your foot for at least three weeks.

If you think you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis, set up an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible. At New York Bone & Joint Specialists, our podiatrists, orthopedists, and physiatrists are experienced in treating plantar fasciitis and other foot-related conditions. By providing personalized, expert care, we are committed to helping our patients enjoy a better quality of life. Call us today to schedule a consultation!

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