Plantar Fasciitis is a common foot ailment that plagues 10%-16% of the population. The majority of people who present with heel pain will have the condition.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue inside the foot. It begins in the heel and extends to each of the toes. Its purpose is to support the arch during standing and walking.
Plantar fasciitis is the irritation of the plantar fascia that is the result of repetitive “micro trauma,” or trauma on a small scale. This micro trauma causes degeneration and micro tears in the plantar fascia, sometimes activating an inflammatory response. It is generally painful. The pain is usually felt in the heel and can be described as throbbing, searing, piercing, or bruised.
Who is at risk?
There are several factors that can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis:
- Short/tight Achilles tendon
- High arch or flat foot
- Standing for extended periods of time on hard flooring
- Increase in activity or change in type of activity
What is the treatment?
There are several avenues of treatment for plantar fasciitis:
- Oral analgesics such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs
- Stretching of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia
- Night splints
- Physical therapy
- Corticosteroid injections or PRP injections
- Low-Dye taping
- Custom Orthotics
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy
I think I have plantar fasciitis. What should I do?
If you believe you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, schedule an appointment with your physician for proper diagnosis. Your doctor may opt to do diagnostic imaging, such as x-rays or ultrasounds, to confirm the condition and rule out other issues. You and your provider can then discuss and decide the treatment option that’s best for you.
Dr. David Carfagno is a Board Certified Internist and Sports Physician, who trained at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
Johnson, R. E., Haas, K., Lindow, K., Shields, R. (2014). Plantar fasciitis: What is the diagnosis and treatment? Journal of Orthopaedic Nursing, 33(4): 198-204.