Plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory condition of the supportive soft tissue found at the bottom of the foot. This fibrous tissue connects the heel bone to the forefoot. The plantar fascia functions in arch support and stability. Overuse injuries are commonly responsible for this structure becoming inflamed and painful. Conditions such as ‘flat feet‘ or pes cavus (increased arch height) can also contribute.
Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis:
- Pain to the bottom of the heel or arch
- Increased pain with initial steps in the morning after arising from bed or after periods of rest
- Gradual increase in pain over several weeks or months
- Aching pains of the heel at the end of the day
Surgical and conservative care options are available to treat this condition. Surgery is typically reserved for a small percent of the population that fail to improve with conservative care. Stretching exercises, ice application to the heel and arch, activity modification, physical therapy, custom foot orthotics, and the use of more appropriate shoes can help in reducing symptoms of pain. Oral anti-inflammatory medication, injectable steroids and platelet rich plasma (PRP) prolotherapy injections can help reduce tissue inflammation associated with this condition.
Plain film radiographs (X-rays) are typically ordered at the initial consultation. This test helps your podiatrist rule out the possibility of other conditions mimicking plantar fasciitis. In some cases a magnetic resonance imaging study (MRI) is ordered to evaluate the plantar fascia for possible tearing.