Plantar fasciitis is the most common diagnosis made for people experiencing persistent heel pain.
If you believe you may have it, you are far from alone. About 2 million people seek treatment for this condition each year, and many more could but choose not to for one reason or another.
The good news is that we know a lot about plantar fasciitis and how to treat it effectively. The high majority of cases are fully resolved or significantly improved within a few months of treatment. It’s all a matter of getting to the root of the problem and addressing it properly.
What Does Plantar Fasciitis Feel Like?
The primary symptom of plantar fasciitis is a pain in the bottom of the foot, usually toward the heel. Many patients will describe this pain as a “shooting,” “stabbing,” or “electric” kind of sensation.
The pain of plantar fasciitis is infamous for being felt first thing in the morning, as soon as your feet hit the floor out of bed. It may take a few minutes of moving until the pain starts to subside. A similar situation may occur when you stand up and start moving after having sat at rest for a long time.
Pain does not tend to be present as much during exercise, but can become worse afterward.
What is Happening? How Does Plantar Fasciitis Cause Heel Pain?
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the underside of the foot, connecting to the heel bone (calcaneus) to the base of the toes.
This band is part of your arch and flexes as you walk, storing and releasing energy. It’s normally very strong, but can still become overloaded. Tiny tears can form in the plantar fascia, often causing pain at or near the heel.
Why the pain after periods of rest, though? As the plantar fascia is relaxed, it tightens up and may even begin to heal. As soon as you start moving again, the plantar fascia is forced to stretch out again, creating new tears and reigniting the pain. Once the band has had an opportunity to “warm up,” that pain tends to recede.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
The first step of treating plantar fasciitis – or any cause of heel pain, for that matter – is determining the source of the problem. You don’t only need to know you have a strained plantar fascia; you also need to know what is causing that strain.
Common causes of strain against the plantar fascia include:
- Overuse injuries.
- Abnormalities in foot structure that focus too much weight on one area.
- Occupations or hobbies that involve spending a lot of time on your feet.
- Improper footwear that does not support your feet.
- Excess weight.
After a thorough examination and discussion about when your symptoms are worst and how they affect your life, we can recommend a heel pain treatment plan that best addresses your particular needs.
We specialize in a wide range of traditional and advanced therapies for plantar fasciitis. It pays to, since so many different factors can be at play! Parts of a treatment plan may include:
- Basic RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) therapy to allow the plantar fascia a better chance to heal.
- The use of custom orthotics to properly shift excess pressure away from the plantar fascia.
- Stretches and exercises meant to condition the plantar fascia and supporting elements.
- The use of technology such as MLS laser therapy or extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) to relieve pain and accelerate healing.
- Changes to footwear, workout routines, or other parts of life to help you do what you love with a lower risk of injury and pain.
Expert Plantar Fasciitis Treatment and Preventative Care
We not only help patients find relief from plantar fasciitis – we help ensure they are much less likely to experience that stabbing pain again.
Don’t wait for plantar fasciitis pain to get better on its own. If you aren’t taking the right steps to address the causes of your heel pain, the chances of it improving are very low. The sooner you start proper treatment, the faster and more effectively it will tend to work!
Schedule an appointment at our offices in Johnstown or Ebensburg by calling (814) 472-2660 or by filling out our online contact form.
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