WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS?
Chances are you have heard the term plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, and it is one of the most common orthopedic complaints. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is estimated that approximately 20 million individuals are treated for this condition each year. Luckily, with 6 months of consistent, nonoperative treatment, people with this condition will recover 97% of the time.
WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIA?
The plantar fascia is a thick band of ligaments located at the bottom of the foot, near the heel. It helps in providing arch support and helps the structures that allow for proper foot mechanics as you walk.
Excessive wear and tear of the plantar fascia can produce a painful inflammation of the ligaments, called plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is most commonly caused by repetitive use or strain to the ligament of the sole of the foot. Such strain can be from excessive running or walking, inadequate footgear, or an injury from landing after jumping. Plantar fasciitis can also be caused by being overweight or obese, having high arches or flat feet, or by having reactive arthritis.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include tenderness, pain, and stiffness in the bottom of the foot and heel. The pain and stiffness do not occur during an activity or exercise but may be greater after completing that exercise or activity. Pain or tenderness may also be experienced with the first few moments after getting out of bed in the morning or after a long period of rest. Often the bottom of the foot can feel warm, swollen, and tender.
Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed by performing a physical exam to check for foot tenderness and the exact location of the pain. An MRI may also be used to rule out any other injuries such as a fracture or bone spur.
After a diagnosis, the main goal is to reduce inflammation in the plantar fascia ligaments by staying off the foot, applying ice, using arch supports, or taking medications.
Physical therapy methods, including stretching exercises, can be used to treat and prevent plantar fasciitis.
A few quick stretches to try include:
-Roll your foot back and forth over a frozen water bottle, golf ball, or foam roller for one minute, then switch to the other foot.
-In a seated position, cross one leg over the other, grab your big toe, and pull it gently towards you for 15 to 30 seconds. Do this three times before moving to your other foot.
– Fold a towel lengthwise to make an exercise strap. Sit down and place the towel under the arch of your foot, while holding the ends of the towel. Gently pull your foot towards you for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat three times.
At Cape Fear Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, we understand that foot and ankle injuries can have a significant impact on your daily life. Our experts understand that proper diagnosis is important in determining the most effective treatment plan for your individual condition.
If you would like to learn more about what causes plantar fasciitis and the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, please contact Cape Fear Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for a consultation with one of our providers at (910) 484-2171.