One of the most common conditions that we treat at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists is heel pain. In fact, 10-20% of all Americans will suffer from heel pain at some point over the course of their life.
When a patient complains of heel pain, one of the first things Dr. Michael L. Rosenberg checks for is plantar fasciitis. Picture a band of tissue running across the bottom of your foot, from your heel to your toes — that’s the plantar fascia. When this band of tissue becomes severely inflamed, we call it plantar fasciitis. Our patients with plantar fasciitis are quick to tell us that the pain is at its worst when they get up out of bed in the morning, or when they stand up after sitting for a while. The pain diminishes or goes away after they walk for a bit, because the plantar fascia is slowly being stretched out.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
What causes the plantar fascia to become inflamed? Here are three general categories:
- An overuse injury: If you’re a runner, or if you do a lot of walking or standing, you’re at risk for developing plantar fasciitis.
- An anatomical issue: You might have a very high arch in your foot, subjecting the plantar fascia to a lot of stress as it supports that high arch. Conversely, you might have a flat foot, which can also irritate the plantar fascia.
- Accompanying medical conditions: Arthritis, tendonitis, nerve irritation, obesity, or stress fractures are also causes of this very painful inflammation. The condition is often made worse when heel spurs are present. Not everyone with plantar fasciitis also has heel spurs, but the two conditions often go together.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
Depending on the severity of your inflammation as well as how long you’ve had it, we might recommend rest, exercises and stretches, massage, splints, ice, shoe inserts (orthotics), physical therapy, or some combination of these. Medications such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, for example) or steroid injections may also help relieve the pain.
Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis
To minimize the chances of experiencing this often-debilitating heel pain, our podiatrists advise wearing shoes that fit well and have the proper support. Stretching exercises will keep your foot flexible.
If you have heel pain that interferes with your life, or doesn’t get better on its own, it’s time to consult the specialists in our Heel Pain Center. We are uniquely qualified to diagnose plantar fasciitis, or some other cause of your heel pain. Request an appointment online with Dr. Rosenberg or Dr. Christie. Or, call us in Montgomery, AL at (334) 396-3668.