Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

This condition is a common cause of heel pain. It involves the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick section of tissue that runs from your toes to your heel.

How Does it Happen?

Plantar fasciitis occurs when there is too much pressure on the tissue, resulting in small tears. People who are long-distance runners or dancers are at higher risk for plantar fasciitis because of the constant stress to their feet. People who are overweight, have to stand for many hours at a time, and wear shoes that are not supportive are also at high risk.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

Usually, plantar fasciitis develops over time and it can affect just one foot or both feet. Plantar fasciitis can present itself in these ways:

  • A sharp pain in the heel of your foot
  • Marked pain when you first wake up or triggered after long periods of standing
  • Pain that increases gradually

How is it Diagnosed?

After examining your foot, your doctor may use an x-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to make sure you don't have other conditions, such as bone spurs or stress fractures.

How is it Treated?

In most cases, plantar fasciitis can be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and corticosteroid medications. Your doctor may also suggest physical therapy, which will help you stretch the plantar fascia and strengthen your leg muscles for more support. You may also benefit from wearing arch supports. In rare cases, you might need surgery to detach the plantar fasciitis from the heel.

What is the Prognosis?

The vast majority of patients will recover in just a few months by using medication and other conservative means. If you require surgery, the arch in your foot may be somewhat weakened.