Two million people in the United States suffer from heel pain each year, and we see many patients who suffer plantar fasciitis each year at Hampton Roads Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. Plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the plantar fascia, causes rigidity, muscle spasms, immobilization of joints, bruises, and/or sharp stabbing pains in your foot. The plantar fascia is the thick ligament across the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes. The plantar fascia absorbs shock and maintains the arch in your foot.
The Plantar Fasciitis Organization
The Plantar Fasciitis Organization offers diverse information about all types of heel pain, plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Your foot or heel pain may be caused by tears in the plantar fascia, usually located where the ligament attaches to the calcaneus, or heel. Your pain may be most severe in the morning. The plantar fascia is thick, flat, striated muscle tissue which stretches with every movement of your foot. Plantar fasciitis pain is usually worse after exercise.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis usually afflicts adults 40 to 60 years old. The plantar fascia tends to be more rigid, or less resilient, in older adults due to collagen degeneration. Stimulated by vigorous exercise, such as running, ballet, or aerobics, plantar fasciitis is aggravated by:
- Prolonged standing
High arches, flat feet or bone spurs contribute to plantar fasciitis, which will disrupt your life if it’s not treated. For example, the stabbing pain you feel and the bruise on the side of your foot when you step down off the curb is caused by plantar fasciitis. Your bruise occurs because the bones in your foot didn’t move properly.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis depends on its severity, duration and effect. The length and duration of treatment varies by individual. The best remedies for plantar fasciitis are lifestyle changes, including:
- Weight loss
- Nutritional changes
- Arch supports
- Low-impact exercise
Stretching your calf muscles and Achilles tendons causes your leg and foot muscles to relax. Flexing your plantar fascia and arches also relaxes your plantar fascia. Changing your exercise routine from jogging to riding a bicycle reduces the impact on the joints in your feet, and swimming helps mobilize your joints.
If your foot pain is of short duration or sudden onset, rest, elevate your leg and foot; take aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium to relieve your pain and relax your foot. Ice applied to the plantar fascia for 15-20 minutes 3 times per day will reduce inflammation and pain. Therapeutic massage of your foot or hand-held massagers may reduce plantar fasciitis pain. If your job requires you to spend long hours on your feet, perhaps you can transfer to a different position or change jobs.
Chronic Plantar Fasciitis
An orthopedic doctor or podiatrist may order X-rays or an MRI to determine the cause of your plantar fasciitis. Typically, weight-bearing activities, especially running and athletics, exceed the foot’s ability to heal. Stress fractures require less stress on the foot and take time to heal. Steroid shots can increase the mobility of the bones in your joints. Bone spurs can be extremely painful. Bone spurs can be surgically removed, but surgery is rarely necessary. Physical therapy may reduce your foot pain.
How Hampton Roads Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Can Help
Contact us at Hampton Roads Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at (757) 873-1554 or schedule online for an appointment and introduction to our interventional pain management for your plantar fasciitis foot pain. We offer therapeutic injections, sonogram therapy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to activate the muscles in your feet and reduce your plantar fasciitis pain.