Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis Pain
Plantar fasciitis pain is the most common complaint that we hear as foot and ankle specialists. This is commonly referred to as heel spur syndrome but the heel spur is not what causes the pain. Plantar fasciitis pain results from inflammation of the plantar fascia, the ligament on the bottom of the foot. This usually occurs from overuse and from the plantar fascia being too tight. The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include severe pain in the bottom of the foot or on the heel, which usually gets worse after rest or in the morning. The pain from plantar fasciitis can be debilitating for patients.
Luckily, plantar fasciitis treatment is usually successful without surgery with the use of conservative treatment options such as foot injections, foot orthotics and stretching. However, in about 10% of the population, surgery for plantar fasciitis is necessary. There are several other painful foot problems that mimic plantar fasciitis, and therefore proper diagnosis is important in order to receive the right treatment for plantar fasciitis.
Diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis
The history given by the patient is helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of plantar fasciitis because typically plantar fasciitis pain occurs when one first stands up after rest or in the morning. Other conditions that cause symptoms similar to plantar fasciitis pain are tarsal tunnel syndrome and a stress fracture of the calcaneus, or heel bone. However, these cause heel or arch pain after prolonged standing or walking. The physical exam by the podiatrist or foot specialist also helps with the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis, as there is typically pain when applying pressure to the fascia itself but not with squeezing of the heel bone or tapping on the tarsal tunnel. Ultrasounds and MRIs are also helpful in the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.
Conservative Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis Pain
After proper diagnosis is made for plantar fasciitis, the appropriate treatment can be implemented. Plantar fasciitis pain usually resolves with stretching, arch support and anti-inflammatory medicine. Stretching is easily done by the patient themselves, and can be used in conjunction with night splints and physical therapy to treat your painful plantar fasciitis.
Anti-inflammatory medicine may be administered by mouth, by applying a cream or with injections in the foot. Arch support may be in the form of a supportive athletic shoe, but is best achieved with a good over the counter rigid foot orthotic, or even custom-made foot orthotics, depending on the patient’s foot type and doctor’s recommendation.
Over the counter foot orthotics from a drug store or shoes store usually do not work. Quality, effective foot orthotics must be obtained from a podiatrist’s office. Over the counter options are much cheaper but do not last as long as custom foot orthotics. Fortunately, 90% of patients with plantar fasciitis pain get better by doing these treatments alone, but the other minority of patients will require surgery for plantar fasciitis pain.
Foot Injection for Plantar Fasciitis
The most common injection for Plantar Fasciitis is a cortisone injection. This reduces inflammation and pain very effectively and can be used safely up to three times per year,as a general rule. More recently, Stem Cells, PRP and Amniotic Fluid injections have been used in the foot for plantar fasciitis with excellent results. These products are natural, safe and have potent anti-inflammatory properties while stimulating your body to heal itself in the area of painful plantar fasciitis.
Foot Surgery for Plantar Fasciitis Pain
For the small percentage of people who require foot surgery for Plantar Fasciitis pain, a Plantar Fasciotomy is performed. This surgery can be done very successfully with minimal incisions using a scope, called Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy, or by using an open technique. In either case, the fascia is released so that it is no longer tight and therefore no longer causes pain. Despite common belief, heel spurs typically do not require removal in order to treat plantar fasciitis pain. Surgery for plantar fasciitis is extremely successful, outpatient and requires minimal time off the foot so most people return to work right away.
Therefore, if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, you should make an appointment with at Certified Foot & Ankle Specilaists to obtain the proper diagnosis and treatment instead of suffering with pain any longer!