Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel and arch pain. This condition refers to an inflammation of the fibrous band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that connects the heel to the toes.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis can include:
- Pain and stiffness after long periods of being stationary (such when you first get out of bed in the morning or after sitting for a long time)
- Increased pain in your heel or arch towards the end of the day
- Tired feet at the end of the day
The terms ‘plantar fasciitis’ and ‘heel spurs’ are commonly confused. While these two diagnoses are related, they are not the same.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
In many cases plantar fasciitis is biomechanically induced. That is, excessive foot pronation (rolling in of the foot) causes elongation of the foot, and places increased traction on the plantar fascia. This increased stress can result in local inflammation and pain.
How is plantar fasciitis treated?
Treatment of plantar fasciitis is focused on relieving the source of inflammation which causes pain. In order to address the underlying cause of plantar fasciitis, your podiatrist may perform an analysis of your walking pattern, shoes, activities and exercise methods, to determine the best treatment for long term prevention.
A combination of the treatment options may be recommended, including:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Prescription orthotics
Most patients respond well to these conservative treatments; however in some cases an injection in the heel is required to help with the pain, and in rare cases, an operation may be recommended to release part of the plantar fascia ligament.