What is plantar fasciitis?

  • Plantar fasciitis is a common, painful foot condition.
  • Plantar fasciitis refers to the syndrome of inflammation of the soft tissue that runs from the heel along the arch of the foot.

Who gets plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is most often seen in middle-aged men and women, but can be found in all age groups. Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed with the classic symptoms of pain well localised, at the front part of the heel and on its medial side. Its positioning is very specific. Often the pain from plantar fasciitis is most severe when you first stand on your feet in the morning.

Why did I get plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis occurs because of irritation to the thick ligamentous connective tissue that runs from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. This strong and tight tissue contributes to maintaining the arch of the foot. It is also one of the major transmitters of weight across the foot as you walk or run. Therefore, the stress placed on  this tissue is tremendous.

When a patient has plantar fasciitis, the connective tissue that forms the arch of the foot becomes inflamed (tendonitis) – these abnormalities cause plantar fasciitis and can make normal activities quite painful.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis are typically worsened early in the morning after sleep. Why?

Over night without a regular stress the soft tissues have tighten. When you first put your foot down. You are stretching this contracted tissues.  As you begin to loosen the foot, the pain usually subsides, but often returns with prolonged standing or walking.

Treatment of plantar fasciitis is with short-term rest and controlling the inflammation. Here are the steps patients should take in order to cure their plantar fasciitis:

  • Rest
    Avoiding the precipitating activity; for example, take a few day off jogging or prolonged standing/walking. Just resting usually helps to eliminate the most severe pain, and will allow the inflammation to begin to cool down.
  • Apply Ice Packs
    Icing will help to diminish some of the symptoms and control the heel pain. Icing is especially helpful after an acute exacerbation of symptoms.

  • Exercises and Stretches
    Exercises and stretches are designed to relax the tissues that surround the heel bone. Some simple exercises, performed in the morning and evening, often help patients feel better quickly.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications
    Anti-inflammatory medications help to both control pain and decrease inflammation. Over-the-counter medications are usually sufficient, but prescription options are also available.
  • Shoe Inserts
    Shoe inserts are often the key to successful treatment of plantar fasciitis. The shoe inserts often permit patients to continue their routine activities without pain.
  • Night Splints
    Night splints are worn to keep the heel stretched out when you sleep. By doing so, the arch of the foot does not become contracted at night, and is hopefully not as painful in the morning.

These modalities alone will cure the plantar fasciitis pain in most patients. Be forewarned that the symptoms will not resolve quickly. Most patients find relief within about three months, and over 90% within one year.