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The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes, creating the arch. It is essentially a shock absorber that supports the foot and the arch throughout daily activity.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition in which that band of tissue is overused, torn or otherwise overstretched. It is frequently felt as a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel area and can make walking very uncomfortable.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis are:
|Pain in only one foot|
|Stabbing pain with the first steps in the morning|
|Inability to put weight on the heel of the foot|
|Gradual increase of the discomfort|
Although plantar fasciitis it is frequently a problem associated with athletes and distance runners, there are other many causes:
|Shoes with poor arch support|
|Sudden weight gain or obesity|
|Flat feet or low arches|
|Overly tight Achilles tendon|
|Long distance running|
|Excessive time spent on your feet|
|Age (more common after age 40)|
Depending on the severity of the plantar fasciitis, there are several treatment options a healthcare provider can provide:
|Physical Therapy – a series of exercises to stretch the plants fascia and Achilles tendon, strengthen lower leg muscles to help stabilize the ankle.|
|Athletic taping – provides support to the bottom of the foot during workouts.|
|Ice and rest – staying off the injury for days or a week, and/or wearing a boot cast for approximately 3-6 weeks.|
|Night Splints – A splint that gently stretches the calf and arch of the foot while you sleep.|
|Orthotics (shoe inserts) - to help cushion the heel and provide arch support.|
|Steroid injections - directly into the heel.|
|Oral anti-inflammatories – to reduce pain and inflammation.|
|Ultrasound or Shock Wave Therapy – sound waves directed at the foot to stimulate healing.|
In cases where conservative treatment is not providing relief from the pain, a doctor may recommend surgery to repair the tissue. In some instances, the doctor may need to detach the plantarfascia from the heel bone.
Plantar fasciitis can usually be healed using conservative treatments.