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Is plantar fasciitis the cause of your heel pain?

heel pain causesYou’ve just woken up, turned off your alarm, had that first stretch of the morning, and then swung your legs over the side of the bed to stand up. You take a few steps, but with each one, you have pain in the heel of your foot. It happens morning after morning. What could be causing you pain before you’ve even started your day? The likely culprit is plantar fasciitis, an overuse injury resulting in inflammation of the connective tissue (the fascia) along the sole (the plantar surface) of your foot.

Who is at risk for developing plantar fasciitis?

Although anyone can suffer from plantar fasciitis, those most at risk for developing it are women, anyone overweight, those who have jobs requiring extensive walking or time standing on hard surfaces, or athletes engaged in sports involving stress on the calves, ankles, and feet. Those with excessively flat or excessively high arches are also more likely to develop plantar fasciitis.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is caused by excessive use or strain on the thick, fibrous ligament in the arch of the foot. This ligament reaches from the heel to the toes. When stretched excessively or put under excess strain, it becomes inflamed, causing pain. Typically the pain starts at the ligaments’ attachment point in the heel. In severe cases, the ligament may actually rupture, causing immediate, usually severe pain, and an inability to bear weight on affected foot — if this happens to you, call Kansas City Foot Specialists at 913-338-4440 immediately for evaluation.

How plantar fasciitis is identified

During your appointment at Kansas City Foot Specialists, your doctor will go over your history, paying particular attention to when your pain began, what types of activities you engage in both for work and recreation, your weight, and your symptoms. Your doctor will also perform a physical examination of your feet, ankles, and calves. Depending on your doctor’s findings, you may also require x-rays of your feet.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis

Once a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is confirmed, your doctor will develop a treatment plan. Conservative treatment typically includes a stretching routine, ice packs, rest, and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications. Your doctor will show you stretches to do at home, focusing on your Achilles tendon and the bottom of the foot. Stretches may also include calf exercises. You may also be given arch supports or orthotics. Over-the-counter arch supports and orthotics may be sufficient for some patients, while others may require custom fitting. In more severe cases of plantar fasciitis, physical therapy, cortisone injections, or night splints may be required.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis may take from several months up to a full year. Following your doctor’s recommendations and treatment plan, will help you to heal, but if after a significant amount of time has passed and you still are in pain, you will need to be re-evaluated by your physician to determine what other treatment options are available, including possible surgery.

Take the first step in treating your foot and heel pain. Call us at 913-338-4440 or contact us online.