Maybe you’ve heard of plantar fasciitis. Maybe you have been diagnosed with it. Maybe you’re wondering what your chronic or recurring foot and ankle pain is. Here are a few FAQs regarding Plantar Fasciitis.
Q: What is plantar fasciitis?
A: This is an injury caused by overuse that affects the sole of the foot. The tendon (fascia) that connects the heel bone to the bottom of your toes is typically swollen and tender. Many patients confuse plantar fasciitis with arthritis in the foot, ankle injuries and plantar’s warts, all of which can inhibit walking. Your health care team needs to diagnose plantar fasciitis definitively.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: The major symptom is pain in the foot and Achilles’ Tendon. Pain tends to be most acute after a period of not moving, so waking up in the morning is particularly tough.
Q: Who is at risk for plantar fasciitis?
A: Being overweight can be a risk factor for plantar fasciitis. Also at risk are people who do a lot of walking or running on hard surfaces (so city dwellers who walk on sidewalks for several miles a day are at risk as are warehouse workers who are on their feet on a hard concrete surface.) The “tightness” of your Achilles’ Tendon also contributes to plantar fasciitis. Finally, foot anomalies like flat feet or high arches can also contribute to many foot issues including plantar fasciitis.
Q: Can plantar fasciitis be treated?
A: Firstly, it’s really important to treat plantar fasciitis, because it typically does not resolve on its own. Patients often curtail their physical activity and unknowingly change their gait to try to compensate for the pain, which can lead to back, knee, leg and hip issues.
Q: What are the treatment options?
A: Physical therapy is actually the most effective and also the most cost effective treatment. Learning the specific stretches to relieve and prevent plantar fasciitis can make an enormous difference. These exercises should be done in the evening and in the morning.
Some patients also find relief from applying ice to the sore area.
Other patients find foot massages to be helpful in reducing pain as well as reducing stress.
In addition, over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) can also provide relief.
Your health care team may also counsel you to change or alter your footwear, particularly if you have high arches or flat feet, so that your sole gets better support.
In serious cases, steroid injections may be advised. In the most serious cases, surgery may be necessary.
Plantar fasciitis can be painful, but it is treatable. Talk to your pain specialist team for a definitive diagnosis and a treatment plan.