If you are a major league baseball fan, you may have heard a few weeks ago about a player for the NY Mets, Jay Bruce, who had to miss a few games. The reason? A common foot problem that we treat often here at Gentle Professional Foot Care: plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis most often manifests itself with severe heel pain and stiffness. The cause of the pain, however, isn’t the heel directly. It’s a long ligament called the plantar fascia that stretches all along the bottom of your foot connecting your toes to your heel bone. When this ligament becomes inflamed that’s when the heel begins to hurt.
There are several factors that make a patient more prone to plantar fasciitis. These include:
- Being age 40 to 60
- Carrying extra weight due to obesity or pregnancy
- Repetitive pounding action on the foot (from running, dancing, etc.)
- A job that requires you to be on your feet all day
- Flat feet or arches that are too high
- Tight calf muscles
- Shoes with inadequate arch support, high heels or thin soles
If you come into our Venice office complaining of heel pain, our podiatrist Dr. Charles A. Suleskey will want to track down the cause of the discomfort and will do so by examining your foot and possibly getting x-rays or other imaging tests. Knowing the cause of plantar fasciitis can help determine the most effective treatment. Several noninvasive measures can be taken, including:
- Rest—this was Bruce’s response and it is essential for allowing the inflammation to subside and the plantar fascia to heal
- Anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections and icing may all be recommended to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
- Strapping, padding or taping to provide support and reduce pressure to the affected area
- Night splints to keep the plantar fascia stretched overnight
- Physical therapy and stretching exercises for calves and feet
- Changing your shoes or using a custom orthotic insert
If these treatment methods do not prove to be effective after several months, surgery may be required. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more difficult it may be to get the inflammation under control. If you are experiencing heel pain and stiffness, contact us by calling: (941) 493-7999.