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Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition characterized by pain and inflammation in the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel to the toes. This condition can cause discomfort and difficulty walking, standing, or engaging in physical activities.

Treatments include physical therapy, orthotic devices like arch supports, and wearing supportive shoes. Our team of doctors and physical therapists have helped countless patients in Georgia. Call us today at 1-800-HURT911 or 855-475-2588!

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis develops when the plantar fascia becomes strained, irritated, or inflamed due to excessive or repetitive stress. Some common causes and risk factors include:

Overuse or High-Impact Activities

Engaging in activities that involve repetitive stress on the feet, such as running, jogging, dancing, or standing for prolonged periods, can strain the plantar fascia and contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.

Foot Mechanics

Abnormal foot mechanics, such as flat feet, high arches, or excessive pronation (rolling inward of the foot), can place additional strain on the plantar fascia, increasing the risk of plantar fasciitis.

Tight Muscles or Achilles Tendon

Tightness in the calf muscles or Achilles tendon can affect foot biomechanics and increase stress on the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation and pain.

Footwear

Wearing shoes with inadequate support or improper fit can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis by placing excessive strain on the plantar fascia during walking or physical activities.

Obesity or Excess Weight

Excess body weight can increase the load on the feet and plantar fascia, leading to strain, inflammation, and pain, especially with standing or walking.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis typically presents with the following symptoms, which may vary in severity and duration.

Heel Pain

The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel, usually located on the bottom of the heel or along the inner arch of the foot. The pain may be sharp, stabbing, or burning in nature and often worsens with weight-bearing activities, such as walking or standing.

Morning Pain or Stiffness

Many individuals with plantar fasciitis experience pain and stiffness in the heel or foot upon waking up in the morning or after periods of rest. This is often due to tightening or shortening of the plantar fascia during periods of inactivity.

Pain with Activity

Pain and discomfort from plantar fasciitis may worsen during physical activities that involve walking, running, or standing for prolonged periods. The pain may improve with rest but typically returns with activity.

Difficulty Walking or Standing

Severe pain from plantar fasciitis can make it difficult to walk or stand, especially on hard surfaces or uneven terrain. Some individuals may develop a limp or alter their gait to avoid putting pressure on the affected foot.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing plantar fasciitis typically involves a thorough medical history, and physical examination, and may include imaging studies or diagnostic tests to rule out other conditions.

Medical History

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and any previous injuries or activities that may contribute to plantar fasciitis.

Physical Examination

A physical examination may be performed to assess tenderness, swelling, and range of motion in the foot and ankle. Your provider may also perform specific maneuvers to reproduce symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis.

Imaging Studies

While there are no specific imaging tests to diagnose plantar fasciitis, imaging studies such as X-rays or ultrasound may be ordered to rule out other potential causes of symptoms, such as stress fractures or heel spurs.

Gait Analysis

Your healthcare provider may assess your walking or running gait to evaluate foot mechanics, alignment, and pressure distribution. Gait analysis can provide valuable information about contributing factors to plantar fasciitis.

Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

Treatment for plantar fasciitis aims to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and improve mobility and function. Some common treatment options include:

Rest and Activity Modification

Resting the affected foot and avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. Modifying activities to reduce impact and stress on the plantar fascia may also be beneficial.

Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

Physical therapy exercises that target the calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia can help improve flexibility, strength, and mobility, reducing strain and tension on the plantar fascia.

Orthotic Devices

Custom or over-the-counter orthotic devices, such as arch supports, heel cups, or night splints, can help support the foot, improve alignment, and reduce stress on the plantar fascia during walking or physical activities.

Footwear Modification

Wearing supportive shoes with adequate cushioning, arch support, and shock absorption can help reduce strain on the plantar fascia and alleviate symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Avoiding high heels, flat shoes, or worn-out footwear may also be beneficial.

Ice Therapy

Applying ice packs or cold therapy to the affected area can help reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling associated with plantar fasciitis. Ice therapy is typically applied for 15-20 minutes several times a day, especially after activity or exercise.

Medications

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be recommended to help manage pain.

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