How Podiatrists Diagnose and Treat Plantar Fasciitis

A thin, fibrous band of tissue on the bottom of your foot called plantar fascia supports the arch of your feet and helps with shock absorption as you walk. It can get inflamed and cause heel pain, especially with your first steps when you wake up or after long periods of rest.

Diagnosis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain on the bottom of your heel. The pain usually occurs when you walk or stand for long periods of time. The pain is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. The condition often affects athletes and people who work on their feet for a living.

When you have plantar fasciitis, the pain is typically sharp and stabbing. It usually begins when you take your first steps in the morning or after a period of rest. The pain may also worsen throughout the day, especially when you walk or stand for extended periods of time.

Your podiatrist will diagnose the condition based on your symptoms and history. They will also perform a physical exam and check your foot for tenderness and swelling. They will also look for signs of heel spurs, which are small lumps under your heels.

Your podiatrist will recommend noninvasive treatment methods to alleviate your pain and speed up healing. This includes rest, icing, shoe padding and inserts, stretching exercises and physical therapy. They may also suggest steroid injections or extracorporeal shockwave therapy. If these treatments don’t relieve your pain, they may suggest surgery to lengthen the plantar fascia and ease pressure on the heel.

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Treatment

Plantar fasciitis pain is caused by damage to the large band of tissue called the plantar fascia, which runs across the bottom of your foot from the front of the heel bone to the base of your toes. It supports the arch of your foot, spreading your weight evenly as you walk, stand or run. Sometimes the ligament gets thick and inflamed at its attachment to the heel bone, forming a heel spur. Heel spurs are a common cause of heel pain, but they usually aren’t the only reason for it.

Podiatrist Sunshine Coast will do a physical exam of your feet and review your medical history. The doctor will look for areas of tenderness on the bottom of your foot and where your heel hurts when you step up or walk.

Several treatment approaches can reduce symptoms and promote healing. These include resting the affected foot, avoiding activities that make your heel pain worse, ice therapy to reduce inflammation and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs). Stretching exercises can strengthen your foot muscles. Shoe inserts can help relieve pain and distribute pressure more evenly. Night splints can keep your foot in a stretched position while you sleep, reducing plantar fasciitis pain.

If other treatments don’t improve your heel pain, your podiatrist may recommend steroid injections to decrease inflammation. In very severe cases, surgery to release the plantar fascia near your heel and remove a heel spur can provide lasting relief.

Prevention

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain in the bottom of the foot, typically in the heel. It’s caused by damage to a thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia, which runs from your heel bone to your toes. This ligament helps your foot work properly by distributing weight evenly across the entire surface of your foot. If your plantar fascia becomes injured, it can cause heel pain that’s sharp and stabbing or dull and aching. This pain is often worst in the morning when you first get up or after long periods of rest, such as after sitting or sleeping. It can also intensify when climbing stairs or standing on your toes.

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There are many things you can do to prevent plantar fasciitis, such as always wearing shoes with good arch support and cushioning and not going barefoot. You should also do regular foot and ankle exercises to stretch your feet. You should also try icing your heel to reduce inflammation and massage your foot to ease the pain. In some cases, podiatrists may recommend medication such as NSAIDs to decrease inflammation and pain. They may also prescribe custom orthotics to help with the healing process or suggest that you wear a splint to encourage stretching and support.

If your plantar fasciitis doesn’t improve with noninvasive methods, you might require surgery to alleviate the pain. This is usually performed in a small procedure room under local anesthesia and has a high success rate.

Follow-Up

The plantar fascia is a fibrous band that runs from the heel bone (calcaneus) to the base of your toes. It supports the arch of your foot and helps absorb shock when you walk. In most cases, plantar fasciitis causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your heel that is worst when you take your first steps after waking up or after prolonged standing. This pain lessens or goes away as you move around, but may return at any time if your feet are not properly supported.

The podiatrist in Maroochydore specialize in treating foot and ankle conditions, including pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia. They will ask about symptoms and examine your feet to determine if the pain is from your plantar fascia or another condition. They may order x-rays or an MRI to get a clear picture of your injury and see other possible causes for the pain in your heel.

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If the pain is caused by your plantar fascia, treatment options include rest, ice packs, steroid injections, and physical therapy to help with flexibility and strength training. Some patients also benefit from wearing a night splint to keep the plantar fascia stretched while they sleep. Other treatments are ultrasound guided steroid injections, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, and surgical procedures called endoscopic fasciotomy.

Most people with plantar fasciitis can find relief from conservative treatment, which includes regular exercise, proper footwear, and weight loss. If conservative treatments are not helping you find relief, your podiatrist may recommend surgery.