What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis or inflammation of plantar fascia is a common overuse injury. It is characterized by acute heel/arch pain first thing in the morning or after rest. Plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs from the heel bone to the metatarsal heads. The problem begins when stress is applied to the fascia which causes microtears. This causes inflammation and thus pain.
There are many predisposing factors that can cause plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Some of the most common ones are flat feet, high arched feet, overuse, repetitive impact activity (i.e. running), new or increased activity and obesity.
What are possible Plantar Fasciitis treatment options?
- Rest. Rest is the first and most important part of the treatment. Weight bearing activities should be limited in order to allow your body to start the healing process.
- Ice. Rolling your foot over a cold water bottle or ice for 10 minutes twice a day is effective in reducing inflammation.
- Orthotics. Orthotics are custom orthopedic devices prescribed by your chiropodist. They serve to realign your feet and prevent any abnormal compensation due to biomechanical abnormalities. These abnormalities such as flat feet can result in even greater pulling of the plantar fascia. Orthotics reduce tension and microtrauma that occurs with every step.
- Laser Therapy. Laser Therapy is completely non-invasive and it is used to control pain and accelerate healing.
- Cortisone. A cortisone injection is very beneficial if the above therapies have not solved the problem. It is a local injection and it is very safe in this area.
Surgery might be considered after 12 months of aggressive non-surgical treatment. Plantar fascia release is one of the most common surgical methods used. During surgery, the plantar fascia ligament is partially cut to relieve tension in the tissue. It should be noted that surgery is rarely required for plantar fasciitis. Usually over 90% of the cases are resolved by non-surgical methods.