What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is irritation/inflammation of the thick fibrous tissue that supports the bottom of the foot. People who have flat feet or who overpronate (when the arch collapses or moves inward) are at risk. Wearing unsupportive or old, worn out shoes, or excessive calf/Achilles tendon tightness can also be risk factors.
What symptoms does plantar fasciitis cause?
People with plantar fasciitis will experience pain or tenderness on the bottom of the heel, the arch, or the whole bottom of the foot. Often it is worse when taking the first step in the morning and with prolonged walking/running. It feels better with rest.
How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?
The diagnosis is made via discussion with your doctor and a physical examination. Imaging is not required to make the diagnosis but can sometimes be helpful to rule out other causes.
How is plantar fasciitis treated?
There are multiple components to the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Treatment is tailored to each individual. Orthotics with arch support are recommended for individuals with flat feet. A good stretching and massage program is key to treating this condition. Anti-inflammatories are often used. A night splint may be used for overnight treatment. In severe cases, a cam boot may be prescribed to immobilize the foot for a period of time to allow it to heal. Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis can take many months to resolve. One of the most important things a patient must do is avoid any aggravating activity until the foot is pain-free. You can stay in shape during recovery using non-weight bearing activities such as deep water running/swimming, cycling, rowing or upper body/core strength training.