FAQ’s on Plantar Fasciitis
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most frequently treated sources of heel pain found in patients who visit our clinic. The pain in the heel from plantar fasciitis is primarily due to an inflammatory reaction in the tissue on the bottom of a patient’s foot (which is a relatively thick tissue known as the plantar fascia). The plantar fascia provides the connection for the heel to the toes, creating a base of support for the foot as well as creating the arch.
Patients who are currently experiencing pain in their foot when pressure is applied may be suffering from an inflamed plantar fascia. While commonly found to occur in adults during middle-age, it is possible for this condition to develop in young adults who remain on their feet for an extended duration of time (such as with people who are required to stand for long periods during work).
What are the causes of Plantar Fasciitis?
The single largest cause in the formation of plantar fasciitis is a straining or tearing in the ligament supporting the arch of the foot. Patients who have a repeated straining in this location are at an increased risk of developing a tear in the ligament. Both a straining and a tear of the ligament can result in pain felt for the patient, and can cause swelling. Some of the most common causes of ligament strain include being flat-footed, having prolonged periods of mobility with the feet on hard surfaces, having feet that are inclined to roll inwards while walking, or having muscles of either the calf or Achilles tendon that are overly tight.
Another considerable cause of plantar fasciitis in our patients is the wearing of shoes that either do not fit well, or that do not properly support the feet during daily activity. Patients with shoes that fall within these categories are at a much higher risk of ligament damage. It is possible for plantar fasciitis to occur either gender and at any age based on activity, but is much more likely to occur in active men who fall between the age of 40 and 70.
What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
The most frequently seen symptom in patients with plantar fasciitis is a combination of pain and stiffness in the pad of the foot. Pain is likely to occur during the first steps after the feet have been stationary for a long time, such as during periods of sitting or resting. Patients may experience pain that recedes after taking a few steps, but on average the pain worsens as their day progresses. In many cases, the pain felt by patients is at its most severe while climbing stairs or if the patient is forced to remain in an upright position for any lengthy duration of time.
Patients with pain in the feet occurring mostly during nighttime (and that does not match the above profile), are much more likely to have a different cause- such as tarsal tunnel syndrome or an arthritic inflammation in the foot.
How is Plantar Fasciitis diagnosed?
A proper diagnosis is the end result of a careful, thorough examination by a physician. Patients will be asked to walk at a normal pace so that their feet and gait may be observed, with questions asked regarding the patients health and any previous injuries to the feet that may have occurred. The symptoms present combined with the results of a physical examination will often be enough to achieve an accurate diagnosis for the patient. If the cause is likely to be of internal origins or an injury, imaging techniques may be used to examine the feet.
What are the treatment options for Plantar Fasciitis?
There is not a singular treatment able to account for every facet of patient’s symptoms when it comes to plantar fasciitis. In many cases, treatment is a culmination of conservative methods with a focus on what is most successful for that patient.
One effective method of treatment for patients who do not respond well to conservative methods is radial shock therapy (Radial shock wave therapy for plantar fasciitis, 2013). Other patients have been successful with PRP therapy in a recent clinical study (Successful use of platelet-rich plasma for chronic plantar fasciitis, 2013).