Patient Education

What is heel pain / plantar fasciitis?

diagram of heel painPlantar fasciitis is an official term for common heel pain.

A ligament-like band, called the plantar fascia, runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. This band helps the foot to maintain proper foot mechanics while walking.

The plantar fascia can become stressed and strained, causing the fascia to swell. This affects the fascia’s fibers so that they begin to fray, which causes plantar fasciitis, or heel pain

Causes

  • Poor foot mechanics – when the foot flattens too much or too little while walking.

Symptoms

  • Heel Ache / Pain

If the foot flattens too little, the fascia (or bottom of the foot) will ache from being pulled too tight when you stand or put pressure on it.

Pain will usually occur on the inside of the foot, close to the area where the arch and heel come
together. Pain is typically the worst when placing weight on the foot after sleeping. The pain might lessen after taking a couple of steps, but it can easily come back after
persistent movement or with rest.

  • Swelling

If the foot flattens too much, the fascia will swell as it overstretches

How to Reduce Symptoms/Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Pain, especially consistent pain, is the body’s way of letting us know something is wrong. Be sure to see Dr. Hansen and closely follow the given treatment plan. Take medications as directed and wear orthoses, also called orthotics (custom-made shoe inserts), if given.

As all conditions of plantar fasciitis vary in severity, so do the symptoms and treatments.

For Mild Symptoms

  • Take an aspirin or a different inflammatory medication
  • Rub ice on the affected area

For Severe Pain and/or Swellingprescription pills

  • Injections
  • Stretching
  • Doctor's prescription of pills
  • Physical therapy, such as ultrasound
  • Night splints (for help in stretching the fascia)orthotics shoe insert
  • Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts - built from casts of your feet. These inserts help to control the movements of the feet, thus improving the symptoms of plantar fasciitis until they disappear. 

Additional suggestions:

  • Wear shoes that will support the arch
  •  Avoid running on uneven or hard ground
  • Lose any excess weight, as this can add to additional pressure to the heel

If Plantar Fasciitis Continues After Treatment
If the condition continues after treatment, Dr. Hansen might consider surgery to alleviate the pain.

During surgery, the plantar fascia is cut to relieve pressure and tension. As the band heals, tissue fills the space between the heel bone and plantar fascia so that the condition becomes no longer
existent.

If you have any further questions regarding ingrown toenails, please consult Dr. Hansen at (702)873-8955 or visit http://www.apma.org for more information.



Information retrieved from Krames Communications health print-outs for doctors’ offices.

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