Plantar Fasciitis is a relatively common problem of the foot affecting about 1 in 10 people sometime in their lifetime. The plantar fascia is a ligamet (flat band) that runs from the heel, to the front of the foot. It is a very common cause of heal pain. The plantar fascia can easily become inflammed, weakened, or swollen and cause a great deal of pain to an individual. Activities such as running and jumping, as well as having an occupation that involves a great deal of standing predipose someone to getting plantar fasciitis. Obesity can also contibute to the develop of this foot condition. The pain that is produced by a damaged fascia is usually worse after the foot is in a resting position, and then a person gets up either out of bed or from a sitting position. It can be extremely painful for a few steps until the fascia is stretched again. Some people have persistent pain throughout the day from the faciitis.
Most commonly plantar fasciitis can be easily diagnosed by a podiatrist or even a family doctor. The symptoms of plantar fasciitis are generally very easy to recognize without furthing testing. However, a provider may conduct an xray or mri to rule out any other problems that may be contributing to the foot pain.
The most common type of treatment for this problem involves using NSAIDS-non steriodal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen. It is very important to rest the heel and give it a chance to recover from the inflammation. Doctors often recommended using ice packs to decrease inflammation as well. Generally gently stretching the plantar fascia can greatly help the pain and speed along recovery. Plantar fasciaitis can often be greatly helped by wearing a full heal split while sleeping. This type of split keeps the fascia ligament stretched and prevents the intense pain that occurs with the first steps out of bed. Generally a night split must be worn for weeks or months to allow the fascia to stay in a stretched out position and allowing healing to take place.
When oral inflammatory medications, and night splits aren’t enough to cure the problem, a physician may recommend steroid injections directly into the inflammed area. This generally is a somewhat painful procedure because the injection needles are fairly long and thick and they are being placed into an area that is already very tender.
Physical therapy can also help affected individuals heal their inflammation. Gently rolling the foot on top of a frozen cylinder ice pak is beneficial to decrease inflammation.
Well fitting orthodics inside one’s shoes are very helpful and often necessary to allow the person to walk properly and start the healing process.
A novel treatment of injecting platelet rich plasma into the area has also been successful. Shock wave therapy to try to heal the area is also used. There is also the Tenex procedure, which is a minimally invasive procedure that removes the inflammed scar tissue and allows the restored blood flow to heal the area. and finally sometimes there is no other option than surgery. The surgical option to treat plantar fascitiis is the last resort treatment. It involves surgery that actually releases the fascia from the heal bone in order to relieve the pain from the non-healing fascia. Generally, plantar fascitis is best treated early and with conservative treatment and most patients do make a recovery.