Plantar fasciitis is a common issue affecting over 2 million Americans annually. Because one in 10 people will experience this at some point, it’s common for people to see a podiatrist. If you’re experiencing chronic heel pain or pain in your arch, you may want to visit a podiatrist to have an evaluation for plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition identified by inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes. This normally webbed, thick ligament is your foot’s natural shock absorber, providing support to your foot arch. This strong ligament can become inflamed and painful due to overuse and overstretching. This can cause swelling and inflammation, which makes walking painful. The condition is commonly found in anyone who is athletic or active or patients who are on their feet for work, and often in runners who ramp up their workout quickly. It is also common to occur when a patient has an increase in body weight. Experiencing stabbing heel pain in one or both feet for more than one week after long periods of standing or sitting or upon awakening is a sign that you should see a podiatrist for evaluation.
This overuse condition isn’t’ triggered by a single event. It results from daily wear and tear through normal movements involved in walking and running. The plantar fascia sustains a great deal of pressure every single day, so it’s prone to overuse injury.
Those who work on their feet daily are more commonly found to fall prey to this injury. Those over the age of 40 or who are pregnant are also at higher risk if they have high arches, flat feet, or tight Achilles tendons; walk on the inside of their feet; or tend to wear ill-fitting shoes that lack proper arch support. Repeated strain can eventually create tears in the ligament.
For those who aren’t pregnant, the most common causes are:
The most common complication is changing the way you walk or stand in order to accommodate the pain in your daily activity. The results of this change can cause foot, hip, knee, or back issues. Your quality of life will be impacted, and you may end up creating other issues that will need medical attention with this shift in gait.
The most common symptoms experienced by people with plantar fasciitis are:
Only a podiatrist can officially diagnose plantar fasciitis through a physical examination of your foot. We’ll take a health evaluation to assess illness or injury history, ask you about your daily physical activity, and have you identify where the pain is felt the most. We always take an X-ray to ensure the injury isn’t bone related, as we often see a bone spur on the heel.
For treatment, we typically prescribe a few things to get rid of the pain as quickly as possible! We will do a few things for the inflammation, including ice, and a few things for the mechanical aspect of the issue. These will most likely involve stretching, some arch-supportive padding, shoe changes, possible splints, modification of activity, and some inflammatory treatments as well. It is very important to use a well-rounded approach to treating heel pain as it can linger and last for a long time without proper thorough care!
If you don’t see improvement after a few weeks, we can recommend physical therapy and massage therapy treatments, night splints, and other treatments such as shockwave therapy. If the aforementioned treatments are unsuccessful, we will evaluate more closely with a diagnostic ultrasound or MRI to ensure there are not other issues causing the pain. Sometimes other treatments can be utilized to treat chronic plantar fascia issues, such as prolotherapy-type injections or other injections like platelet-rich plasma or PRP. Plantar fascia issues, if properly diagnosed, will resolve but can take some time to heal even with the most thorough, swift treatment protocols.
There are many at-home treatments that you can utilize. We’ll determine which is best for you, but know that this can be easily managed by the following recommendations:
The healing process can take anywhere from three to 12 months to heal. Consistency in implementing our advice will prove the most reliable method to ensure a speedy recovery. The longer the presence of symptoms before treatment, the longer the healing process may take.
Overuse injuries can be prevented through conscious daily decisions. The best options include the following:
Some health conditions make it impossible to prevent the development of plantar fasciitis, but in most cases, it’s preventable with proper preparation and attention to the needs of your feet.
If you’ve had foot pain for a few weeks, please call us, don’t wait as this can prolong the treatment time and delay the healing, start some home remedies such as stretching and wearing shoes daily in the home and modify your workouts., you should contact us to schedule an appointment to evaluate your foot’s current health. The sooner you seek treatment, the quicker the recovery. If self-care hasn’t prevented or relieved the pain, then visiting our office is critical to your foot’s effective recovery. If the pain hasn’t improved after self-care for two weeks or the pain doesn’t improve on its own after one week, then it’s likely you’ll need to see a podiatrist to help you.
Dr. Schoene and Dr. Bever are specially trained to help with plantar fasciitis treatment. Our 30+ year practice has been serving the Chicagoland area treating all types of patients! To schedule an appointment to treat your plantar fasciitis or to find out if this is what you’re dealing with, please take a moment to complete our contact form to schedule your appointment. You don’t have to suffer. Let us help you recover today.