What is Plantar Fasciitis?

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Nov 03, 2020

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is among the most common causes of heel pain. When you are looking down at your foot the portion that you see is called the dorsal side and what runs underneath is the plantar side.  You have a very thin but strong layer of tissue, the facia, that runs from the heel all the way to the toes. The fascia’s job is to support the arch. The facia being inflamed is what we call Plantar Fasciitis.

How do you diagnose Plantar Fasciitis?

There are imaging technologies that can help detect plantar fasciitis, but clinicians predominantly rely on the patient’s history and examination to diagnose. Some of the presenting symptoms and triggers that we hear from patients include intense sharp stabbing pain with the first step getting out of bed in the morning.  A lot of patients have pain when they get out of the car after a long period of sitting. People who work on concrete floors, climb up and down ladders tend to have a lot of tenderness on their exam.  When they are flexing their foot, it stretches that facia and when we press on that heel it really aggravates the problem.

What is the treatment for plantar fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is treated non-surgically and can resolve over a period of time.  We have seen it take upwards of 12 months and that is a long time to suffer from heel pain. There are simple techniques that can be done at home to help alleviate the symptoms.

  • Recognize your Triggers! If you know that running or a high aerobic step class is an aggravating factor, then you might need to take a break from that activity.
  • Stretching is important and there are lots of techniques that help work out some of the inflammation. We recommend doing foot stretches throughout the day. We have patients who are told they should be doing the stretches upwards of 3 to 4 times a day.
  • Ice is also extremely helpful in treating plantar fasciitis. There is a long-standing tip of freezing a water bottle and rolling your foot over the frozen bottle.
  • We tell patients that your feet are a worthy investment and if you want to go with orthotics you should start with an inexpensive option. If you get any relief at all then it might be worth investing in custom orthotics that you can move from shoe to shoe.
  • Night splints can be worn when you sleep to help stretch that facia while you are sleeping.
  • A steroid injection into the heel is the last treatment option

If you or someone you know is in pain, make your appointment with the Tidewater Orthopaedics Foot & Ankle team today.


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