Heel pain is a common ailment that can result from various causes such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation, or a cyst. However, the most prevalent cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of tissue that extends from the heel to the toes. The plantar fascia becomes irritated and inflamed thereby leading to heel pain, and in some cases, the formation of a heel spur may exacerbate the pain.
The faulty structure of the foot is the primary cause of plantar fasciitis. Individuals with flat feet, high-arched feet, or who wear non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces are more susceptible to developing plantar fasciitis. Moreover, people with obesity stand a higher chance of developing the condition.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain on the bottom of the heel that increases over months and is worse upon arising. Many patients find that the pain subsides after a few minutes of walking but returns after spending long periods of time on their feet. If you experience any symptoms of plantar fasciitis, it is essential to consult a foot and ankle surgeon. They can help distinguish between all the possible causes of heel pain and determine the underlying cause of your heel pain.
The foot and ankle surgeon will obtain a patient’s medical history and examine the affected foot. They will also carry out diagnostic imaging studies, such as x-rays, to distinguish different types of heel pain. This evaluation helps in ruling out other causes of heel pain, making a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for plantar fasciitis.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis begins with first-line strategies, such as stretching exercises, wearing supportive shoes with good arch support, and avoiding going barefoot, especially on hard surfaces. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen may assist and significantly reduce pain and inflammation. If the symptoms persist after several weeks, a foot and ankle surgeon may consider other treatment options such as padding and strapping, injection therapy, a removable walking cast or a night splint.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary for patients who do not respond to non-surgical treatments. A foot and ankle surgeon can determine through evaluation whether surgery would help their condition, and the type of procedure needed.
Preventive care is essential for treating plantar fasciitis. Maintaining good foot health through wearing supportive shoes, stretching, and using custom orthotic devices are essential to prevent future instances of plantar fasciitis. If you need relief from chronic pain, it is crucial to see a foot and ankle specialist like Dr Gilbert Huang DPM, who can help diagnose and treat underlying foot conditions.
In conclusion, plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that causes heel and arch pain traced to an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. Overpronation is the most common cause of the condition, and it can be treated through conservative measures such as medication, orthotics, and physical therapy. However, patients need to seek professional help from foot and ankle specialists to get the correct diagnosis and develop a viable treatment plan. Good foot health is essential in preventing plantar fasciitis from recurring.