Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options: Everything You Should Know About Plantar Fasciitis

Did you know nearly 2 million people are treated for plantar fasciitis every year? Plantar fasciitis, a condition that occurs when the connective tissue between your heel bone and toes becomes inflamed, is the most common cause of pain at the bottom of the heel. If you’ve been diagnosed with this condition, you’re not alone.

Causes: How do you get plantar fasciitis?

So, what is the main cause of plantar fasciitis? The tissue between your heel bone and toes works like a rubber band and helps to cushion the arch of your foot. Over time, it can rip or tear, which is what causes it to become inflamed and lead to pain. Typically, simply heavy use of feet and ankles in everyday life causes plantar fasciitis. Putting too much stress on our feet can push them over their limits. Plantar fascia pain is more likely developed in females, individuals who are overweight, and those whose work requires a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces.

Heel Spurs vs. Plantar Fasciitis: What’s the Difference?

People often confuse plantar fasciitis with a heel spur. It is important to be able to recognize the few distinct characteristics that set them apart. Heel spurs often result from plantar fasciitis, and are a bony protrusion that forms beneath the heel and can cause inflammation of the fascia. They will not go away without medical treatment.

Some of the most common risk factors of plantar fasciitis include:
  • Obesity
  • Poorly fitting shoes
  • High arches
  • Pregnancy
  • Age
  • Exercise
  • Poor foot position
  • Being on feet all day

Signs and Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis has several distinctive symptoms.
  • Stabbing pain in the heel of your foot after resting or physical activity. Pain may not occur during the day or when moving around, but rather after you have sat without moving for too long, such as in the morning after taking your first steps.
  • Heel feeling stiff. Your heel may also feel stiff after doing some type of physical activity such as exercising or running. Plantar fasciitis can affect one or both feet.

Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

The type of treatment depends on the severity of your plantar fasciitis and how much pain you are experiencing. You may need physical therapy, medication or even plantar fasciitis surgery. Your podiatrist will need to diagnose you first, then the treatment option that is right for you will be determined.

Plantar Fasciitis Therapy

Plantar fasciitis therapy includes stretching to prevent stiffness of the connective band. Exercises could include using the ball, arch and heel of your foot to roll a tennis ball. You may also stretch your calf by placing the toe of your foot on the wall and pressing it into the wall to stretch out your calf and the arch of your foot.

Medication for Plantar Fasciitis

Oral medication may be given to help alleviate pain. Medication may also be injected such as a steroid injection into the band to help with the pain and inflammation.

Plantar Fasciitis Surgery

If surgery is needed to treat your plantar fasciitis, it’s frequently done by making an incision in the thickest part of the skin at the top of the heel to help release the tension in the band. This can be done through a minimally invasive endoscope that allows for a very quick recovery.

What happens if plantar fasciitis goes untreated?

It is important to contact a foot and ankle specialist if you begin experiencing the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. If unnoticed or untreated, it can potentially cause more complications such as pain in your hip or back from walking differently in order to alleviate pain in your feet, as well as extend the healing process.

How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

There are a few ways you can avoid plantar fasciitis and the pain that comes along with it. Performing foot and leg stretches daily will help relieve tension in the fascia and better prepare it for strenuous use. If you struggle with obesity, losing weight will help significantly as being overweight can put strain on the fascia and is a major cause of plantar fasciitis. Avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces and wear supportive shoes. Being fitted for custom inserts.

Other Helpful Tips if You Think You Have Plantar Fasciitis
  • If you begin feeling symptoms of plantar fasciitis, cease any physical activity that is causing the pain in order to allow your feet to rest and heal.
  • Stretching often can help alleviate pain (and prevent it). Stretching is good for the entire body and we recommend doing calf and foot stretches daily.
  • Wear comfortable fitting shoes with a proper arch and a low heel that fit your well. Making sure they aren’t too tight is important as well. Choosing the right shoe prevents any potential issues with your feet.

If you are experiencing pain in your heels or elsewhere in your feet, schedule an appointment with East Village Foot & Ankle Surgeons today to prevent the pain from worsening. Serving the Des Moines, Mason City and Pella areas, our podiatry experts can see you this week for an appointment, so you don’t have to live with foot pain any longer!