What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the ligament, the plantar fascia, that attaches to the heel of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is the most common type of pain in the heel.

Causes of plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is caused by a variety of factors including:

  • Wearing shoes without proper arch support or cushioning
  • Exercising with tight calf muscles or tight Achilles tendons
  • Long distance running or walking

Risk factors for plantar fasciitis

Risk factors for plantar fasciitis include:

  • Flat feet
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Lack of stretching before strenuous exercise (running/walking)
  • Jobs that require standing for long periods of time
  • Obesity or rapidly gaining weight causes increased pressure on the plantar fascia

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the heel or foot
  • Stiffness in the heel or foot
  • Swollen or irritated ligaments in the heel or the foot
  • Difficulty walking without pain when you first get out of bed

Diagnosis of planter fasciitis

Your orthopedist or sports medicine specialist or primary care doctor will diagnose plantar fasciitis in a physical exam.

An orthopedic physician may order an x-ray or an ultrasound to understand the severity of the condition.

Treatments for plantar fasciitis

Treatment for plantar fasciitis can be as simple as stretching before exercising for mild cases to physical therapy and medical management for a more severe diagnosis.

In the most extreme cases, treatment for plantar fasciitis will require surgery to release the plantar fascia.

Treatment may include:

  • Orthotics
  • A splint or brace
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Plantar fascia release surgery

Recovery from plantar fasciitis

Recovering from plantar fasciitis can take a couple weeks to many months.

In order to ensure plantar fasciitis does not return patients should work with their physicians to develop a maintenance plan that will alleviate the cause of the condition.

For long distance runners or those on their feet every day this could be as easy as implementing a daily stretching routine.

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