Plantar fasciitis is the pain caused by degenerative irritation at the insertion of the plantar fascia on the medial process of the calcaneal tuberosity. The pain may be substantial, resulting in the
alteration of daily activities. Various terms have been used to describe plantar fasciitis, including joggerâs heel, tennis heel, policemanâs heel, and even gonorrheal heel. Although a misnomer,
this condition is sometimes referred to as heel spurs by the general public.
Far and away the most common cause of plantar fasciitis in an athlete is faulty biomechanics of the foot or leg. Faulty biomechanics causes the foot to sustain increased or prolonged stresses over
and above those of routine ground contacts. Throughout the phase of ground contact, the foot assumes several mechanical positions to dissipate shock while at the same time placing the foot in the
best position to deliver ground forces. With heel landing the foot is supinated (ankle rolled out). At mid-stance the foot is pronated (ankle rolled in). The foot is supinated again with toe-off. The
supination of the foot at heel strike and toe-off makes the foot a rigid lever. At heel strike the shock of ground contact is transferred to the powerful quads. During toe-off forward motion is
created by contraction of the gastroc complex plantar flexing the rigid lever of the foot pushing the body forward.
Patients experience intense sharp pain with the first few steps in the morning or following long periods of having no weight on the foot. The pain can also be aggravated by prolonged standing or
sitting. The pain is usually experienced on the plantar surface of the foot at the anterior aspect of the heel where the plantar fascia ligament inserts into the calcaneus. It may radiate proximally
in severe cases. Some patients may limp or prefer to walk on their toes. Alternative causes of heel pain include fat pad atrophy, plantar warts and foreign body.
Your doctor may look at your feet and watch the way you stand, walk and exercise. He can also ask you questions about your health history, including illnesses and injuries that you had in your past.
The symptoms you have such as the pain location or when does your foot hurts most. Your activity routine such as your job, exercise habits and physical activities preformed. Your doctor may decide to
use an X-ray of your foot to detect bones problems. MRI or ultrasound can also be used as further investigation of the foot condition.
Non Surgical Treatment
Talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include. Apply ice or a cold pack to the heel and arch for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a
towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin. A special splint that will hold your foot in a neutral position while sleeping. Special shoe inserts that support the mid-arch region of your foot.
Inserts that are not customized may work just as well as those that are customized. Activity. Avoid running and other activities that may worsen pain. Begin stretching exercises to lengthen the
Achilles tendon and plantar fascia as recommended by your doctor. This is usually done when pain has lessened or improved. To help manage pain, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Prescription pain relievers may also be required. Steroid injections may be used in some cases or if other treatment is not
working. A special type of sound wave called extracorporeal shock wave may also be considered in certain cases. This treatment happens under the care of your doctor. At this time, this is generally a
treatment for long-term cases that do not respond to other treatments. Massage therapy or accupuncture may also be effective for long-term cases. In a few cases, basic treatments don't help. Surgery
may be performed to cut the tight, swollen fascia.
When more conservative methods have failed to reduce plantar fasciitis pain, your doctor may suggest extracorporeal shock wave therapy, which is used to treat chronic plantar fasciitis.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy uses sound waves to stimulate healing, but may cause bruises, numbness, tingling, swelling, and pain. When all else fails, surgery may be recommended to detach the
plantar fascia from the heel bone. Few people need surgery to treat the condition.