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Plantar Fasciitis

Definition:
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue attached to the heel bone that supports the arch of the foot.

Causes:
Plantar fasciitis is caused by activity that puts extra stress on the foot, such as:
  • Physical exertion, especially in sports that require running and jumping such as:
    • Running
    • Volleyball
    • Tennis
  • Sudden increase in exercise intensity or duration
Risk Factors:
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease, condition or injury. The main risk factor for plantar fasciitis is physical activity that stresses the plantar fascia. Other risk factors include:
  • Obesity
  • Weight gain
  • Pre-existing foot problems, including an abnormally tight Achilles tendon (heel cord), flat feet, or unusually high arches
Symptoms:
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis may come on gradually or suddenly. Symptoms include:
  • Burning pain on the sole of the foot
  • Heel pain when taking the first steps in the morning
  • Tenderness when touching the sole or heel
  • Pain when standing on tiptoe
Diagnosis:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and examine your foot.

Tests may include:

  • X-ray or bone scan of the foot – to help rule out stress fractures or bone spurs
Treatment:
Treatments include:

Rest – Avoid running and other activities that may worsen pain.

Ice – Apply ice or a cold pack to the heel and arch for 15-20 minutes, 4 times a day to relieve pain. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin.

Medication – The following medications can relieve pain and inflammation:

  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Aspirin
  • Corticosteroid injections (may be given by a doctor)

Night Splint – This splint will hold your foot in a neutral position while sleeping.

Orthotics – These special shoe inserts provide support for the mid-arch region of your foot.

Physical Therapy – Begin stretching exercises to lengthen the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia as recommended by a health care professional.

Surgery – In a few cases, basic treatments don’t help, and surgery is performed to cut the tight, swollen fascia.

Prevention:
To reduce your risk of getting plantar fasciitis:
  • Wear appropriate and well-fitted footwear during sports and exercise.
  • Do stretching exercises for the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.
  • Increase intensity and duration of exercise gradually.
  • Maintain an appropriate weight
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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