One of the most common causes of heel pain that we treat at Gentle Professional Foot Care is plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a long ligament that spans the bottom of your foot from heel to toe. This ligament provides support to the arch of your foot. When you’re at rest, the ligament contracts. When you walk the ligament stretches. If it gets overstretched, torn or irritated inflammation and stabbing pain in the heel can occur.
What Inflames the Plantar Fascia?
Due to the fact that the plantar fascia is so closely linked to the arch of the foot, the number one source of irritation to it are structural problems that involve the arch. Patients who have flat feet or overly high arches are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. Other possible causes include:
· A trauma or injury to the foot
· Overuse—such as a job that requires you to stand for long periods of time on a hard surface
· Improperly fitting shoes
· Obesity or Pregnancy
Diagnosis and Treatment
Our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, will of course do a complete examination of your foot and get your medical history as well. X-rays or other digital imaging studies may be used to rule out other disorders that cause heel pain. The foot doctor will also find clues in your description of the symptoms: pain that has increased gradually over several months and that is worse with the first steps in the morning, pain in the arch and swelling on the bottom of the heel all point to plantar fasciitis.
Once confirmed, plantar fasciitis can be treated in a number of conservative ways. The podiatrist may recommend oral anti-inflammatory medications or an injection to reduce inflammation and pain. If the plantar fasciitis is related to a misalignment of the foot or arch issue, custom orthotics may help to correct the source of the problem. Physical therapy, strapping or a night splint to keep the plantar fascia stretched while you sleep are other options.