Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a ligament-like band running from your heel to the ball of your foot. This band pulls on the heel bone, raising the arch of your foot as it pushes off the ground. If your foot moves incorrectly, the plantar fascia band may become strained allowing it to swell and its tiny fibers to fray, causing plantar fasciitis.

Causes:

Plantar fasciitis is often caused by poor foot mechanics. If your foot flattens too much, the fascia may overstretch and swell. If your foot flattens too little, the fascia may ache from being pulled too tight.

Symptoms:

With plantar fasciitis, the bottom of your foot may hurt when you stand, especially first thing in the morning. Pain usually occurs on the inside of the foot, near the spot where your heel and arch meet. Pain may lessen after a few steps, but it comes back after rest or with prolonged movement.

Related Problems:

A heel spur is extra bone that may grow near the spot where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel. The heel spur may form in response to the plantar fascia’s tug on the heel bone.

Bursitis is the swelling of a bursa, a fluid-filled sac that reduces friction between a ligament and a bone. Bursitis may develop if a swollen plantar fascia presses against a plantar bursa.

Plantar Fasciitis

Physical Exam:

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and feel for any damaged ligaments, inflamed tendons, and displaced bones or joints. Your doctor will watch you walk to see if your symptoms are caused by incorrect foot movement.

Treatments:

Nonsurgical Method:

  • To relieve mild symptoms, try aspirin, ibuprofen, other medications as directed. Rubbing ice on the affected area may also help.
  • To reduce severe pain and swelling, your doctor may prescribe pills or injections. Physical therapy, such as ultrasound or stretching exercises, may also be recommended.
  • To reduce symptoms caused by poor foot mechanics, your foot may be taped. This supports the arch and temporarily controls movement. Night splints may also help by stretching the fascia.

Control Movement:

If taping helps, your doctor may prescribe orthoses. Built from plaster casts of your feet, these inserts control the way your foot moves. As a result, your symptoms should go away.

Surgical Method:

Your doctor may consider surgery if other types of treatment don’t control the pain. During surgery, the planter fascia is partially cut to release tension. As you heal, fibrous tissue fills the space between the heel bone and the plantar fascia.

You can reduce the strain on the plantar fascia and possibility of overuse by losing any excess weight, avoiding to run on hard or uneven ground, and wearing shoes or house slippers that support your arch.