Plantar fasciitis is a very common cause of foot pain. The pain occurs when the tissue that supports the arch, which is designed to absorb energy while we run and jump, is overloaded repetitively. Repeat overload causes the tissue to degenerate causing pain.
Often there is no specific reason for plantar fasciitis. It can be caused by several factors including:
• Tighter calf muscles
• New or increased activity
• Very high arch
• Repetitive impact activity
Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
• Pain on the bottom of the foot close to the heel
• Pain is worse with the first few steps after getting out of bed, which subsides after a few minutes of walking
• Increased pain after exercise
• Swelling on the arch
Other diseases that can mimic plantar fasciitis include:
• Bone spur
• Muscle tendinitis
In almost all cases, nonsurgical treatment options can result in complete resolution of you plantar fasciitis. Although the treatment may take up to 10 months before you see effectiveness.
Activity modification – The first step in treatment is activity modification. It is important to decrease your workouts and walking speed to decrease the stress across the plantar fascia. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be helpful to decrease the pain associated with inflammation, although they should not be taken for more than several weeks without consulting us.
Heel lift – Using shoes with a small heel can also temporarily decrease the strain on the plantar fascia.
Calf stretches – Place your hands on a stable wall and lean forward with one knee straight while your heel remains on the ground. Place the other leg in front with the knee bent. Then you push your hips toward the wall keeping your heel on the ground. You hold the position for 10 seconds and relax feeling a stretch through the plantar fascia, achilles heel and calf muscle.
Repeat it 10 times.
Heel drops – Stand at the edge of a stair, or a raised platform that is stable, with just the front half of your foot on the stair and and slowly lower your heels to the lowest point possible and hold for 10 seconds. You should feel a stretch in the plantar fascia, achilles tendon and calf muscles. Repeat it 10 times.
CAM boot– if the pain is not improved, we often trial a boot that keeps your ankle from moving allowing you to walk without placing additional stress on the plantar fascia.