Plantar fasciitis, also called plantar fasciosis or plantar fasciopathy, is a common and painful foot injury that affects the heel and the arch. Specifically, plantar fasciitis is the injury of the ligament that is located on the bottom of your foot, going from the heel to the ball of the foot. There are many causes of plantar fasciosis ranging from being overweight, to wearing flat, unsupporting shoes to improper foot mechanics when participating in an athletic activity such as running.
Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms
The telltale symptom of plantar fasciitis is severe pain in the foot after long periods of rest, such as when you first get out of bed in the morning or when you stand up after sitting for a long period of time. Plantar fasciopathy pain can also occur after one has been constantly on his or her feet most of the day.
In most cases, the pain will be most felt either at the front or center of the heel bone on the bottom of your foot. Plantar fasciosis pain can range from moderate to severe pain and can flare up continuously for many months.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
The pain and discomfort of plantar fasciitis can flare up occasionally over the course of a few years. Many of the common treatments for plantar fasciopathy are geared towards providing temporary relief of the current pain and discomfort, and not necessarily to treat the underlying cause of the pain or discomfort. Only surgery can provide the most permanent treatment as it treats and repairs the plantar fasciitis ligament itself. This should be kept in mind when seeking treatment for your plantar fasciosis.
There are many treatment options available for plantar fasciitis ranging from simple resting of the foot to extensive surgery. Those suffering with plantar fasciitis pain and discomfort are advised to exhaust every possible option before opting for surgery. It is recommended that one starts at the lowest level of treatment including resting, stretching and icing. The severity of your plantar fasciopathy pain and the length of time you’ve been experiencing discomfort will play a role in the appropriate treatment. Below are common plantar fasciosis treatment options ranging from the most conservative to most extreme:
- Resting and decreasing activity level
- Taking pain relievers such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve and Tylenol (avoid Aspirin)
- Stretching and yoga
- Wearing supportive shoes, heel cups and custom orthotics
- Wearing night splints and using night walkers
- Avoid walking barefoot
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections and platelet-rich plasma therapy
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy
- Minimally invasive Tenex procedure
Many patients with plantar fasciopathy pain and discomfort often get relief through rest, stretching, icing, massaging and taking pain relievers. Patients are encouraged to try each treatment for multiple months before ramping up to a more extreme, intensive treatment. Surgery should only be seen as a last resort.
If you think you may have plantar fasciitis, it is recommended to schedule an appointment with a local foot and ankle specialist. He or she will be likely able to diagnose your condition and offer suggestions for the best treatment option.