About plantar fasciitis
Over two million people in the US experience plantar fasciitis every year. Whether you’re a walker, day hiker, or an athlete, this painful condition can stop you in your tracks.
But help is available. An experienced podiatrist can provide an accurate diagnosis for plantar fasciitis and treatment options to get you back on your feet, and back to enjoying life.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a painful foot condition caused by inflammation of the tissue band — or fascia — that runs from the base of the heel to the toes. Repeated stress on the plantar fascia causes small tears which can lead to inflammation and pain.
Plantar fasciitis affects the sufferer’s quality of life by making walking difficult and, in some cases, can lead to secondary side effects in other areas of the body.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis
The first sign of plantar fasciitis is often heel pain. This pain comes on gradually, and is commonly worse in the morning.
This heel and foot pain can make it difficult or almost impossible to walk properly. The resulting gait change causes the body to compensate to avoid the pain. For some individuals, these shifts in the musculoskeletal system can then create pain in other parts of the body such as the knees, hips, back, or other joints.
It’s ideal to see a podiatrist as soon as you notice signs of plantar fasciitis, in order to reduce the pain and avoid further complications. Early intervention and treatment can help correct the cause and prevent this condition from escalating into further joint, ligament, or muscle damage.
Dr Jeffrey Boggs of WWMG Podiatry shares, “Plantar fasciitis is by far the most common malady addressed in our office. Treatments can vary greatly depending on severity, duration of the condition and the patient’s desires and expectations of treatment. Ultimately a treatment plan can be put in place to help each individual patient heal.”
Causes and Risk Factors
The causes of plantar fasciitis include:
- Tight calf muscles
- Increased activity level
- Prolonged standing over time
- Intense exercise and athletic training
- Individual foot structure
Some risk factors associated with an increased likelihood of developing plantar fasciitis include:
- Activities with repetitive impact (running, jumping, etc.)
- Women in the 40-70 age range
- Flat feet or high arches
- Tight calves / tight Achilles tendons
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you notice early signs of plantar fasciitis, seek treatment with an experienced podiatrist as soon as possible. Taking a proactive approach to treatment can help you correct the root causes before this condition impacts other parts of your body.
The podiatrist, a specialist in foot and ankle issues, will review your medical history, do a physical exam of your foot, and may order imaging scans to rule out other related conditions.
After determining that your symptoms are indeed caused by plantar fasciitis, your podiatrist will recommend appropriate treatment. From (generally) less invasive to more invasive, treatment options may include:
- Stretching / home exercises
- Night splints
- Walking boots or crutches
- Steroid injections
The treatment approach recommended depends on the severity of your plantar fasciitis as well as the extent to which it has affected other parts of your body.
A patient treated early in the onset of this condition may find relief through a lesser invasive treatment. But a patient who puts off treatment until the plantar fasciitis has affected the knees and back too, might require more invasive treatment for not just the foot, but for the other affected parts of the body as well.
When addressed in the early stages, plantar fasciitis can be successfully treated. Western Washington Medical Group’s podiatrists have helped many patients recover from this painful condition through expert diagnosis and treatment.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of plantar fasciitis, don’t hesitate to seek help. Make an appointment today with our knowledgeable podiatrists. Early intervention is important to getting back to enjoying life and the activities you love.