If you find yourself jolted awake in the morning by acute pain radiating from your heel, there is a chance that you could have plantar fasciitis. This condition reflects inflammation of the plantar fascia – a continuous band of tissue extending across the bottom part of your foot.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that shouldn’t be overlooked; if left untreated, it can cause chronic heel pain and even lead to hip or back issues. Thankfully, there are several methods for treating plantar fasciitis – from stretching exercises to steroid injections for the most severe cases. Don’t let heel pain sideline you any longer; instead, find relief through one of these treatments so you can get back on your feet.
An overview of the plantar fascia
The plantar fascia, a band of tissue that is situated at the bottom of the foot, performs an indispensable role in our bodies. It connects your heel bone to the front part of your feet and helps carry out vital tasks such as absorbing pressure when you move around and providing support for arches.
An abundance of conditions or events can cause your plantar fascia to become overly stressed, such as being overweight, getting older, expecting a baby, standing for lengthy durations at a time, engaging in physical activities that put pressure on your heel or having high arches and flat feet – thus causing you to over-pronate (roll the foot inwardly when taking steps).
Plantar Fasciitis can result from an overstretching or even tearing of the plantar fascia, which creates inflammation and pain. Fortunately, podiatrists understand this affliction well as it is a common source of heel discomfort. With their expertise in treating Plantar Fasciitis, they are equipped to provide relief.
To accurately identify plantar fasciitis and distinguish it from other conditions that result in heel pain, a podiatrist may rely on comprehensive tests such as an MRI, X-ray, or ultrasound.
If you are fighting heel pain, have it evaluated by a podiatrist as soon as possible to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment. A variety of methods might be utilized such as physical therapy sessions, night splints that delicately expand the plantar fascia, orthotics for proper weight distribution across your feet, steroids to reduce inflammation and discomfort, shock wave treatments that engender self-healing within your body, or even surgery in severe cases to remove scar tissue or alleviate pressure from swelling. Make sure you don’t let this affliction go unchecked!
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is an agonizing condition that affects the connective tissue located beneath your feet, known as the plantar fascia. Because of this inflammation, it can lead to mild or severe pain in one’s heel area.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
- Excessive running
- Non-supportive shoes
- Repeated stretching and tearing of the plantar fascia
How Can It Be Treated?
Your podiatrist has many options at their disposal to manage the inflammation of plantar fasciitis. Depending on the severity of your condition, your foot doctor can apply one of the following treatments:
- Physical therapy: For mild cases of plantar fasciitis, a simple combination of rest, stretching, and foot strengthening exercises should suffice. Adding a customized insole inside your shoe can further speed up the healing process.
- Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often paired with physical therapy in more acute cases. The treatment may last for multiple weeks for optimal results.
- Surgery: Surgery for plantar fasciitis entails making small cuts in the plantar fascia to relieve stress in the ligament or removing the inflamed tissue from the heel bone altogether. This procedure stimulates new tissue growth and is generally effective in treating plantar fasciitis. Surgery is generally considered a last resort because the recovery time can take several weeks and may require you to wear a splint.
Related: Heel Pain when Walking Treatment
Injections For Plantar Fasciitis
If your plantar fasciitis persists despite the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other therapies, injections may be recommended by your podiatrist. Here are some possible types of injections that can treat this condition:
- Cortisone injection: Cortisone shots can be a great way to alleviate both pain and swelling related to plantar fasciitis for up to 6 months, permitting you to rehabilitate more efficiently. However, cortisone injections do not cure the condition – they merely ease symptoms temporarily. Thus it is necessary that these types of treatments are used sparingly- no more than twice a year at most. Moreover, research has shown that overusing cortisone in one spot may lead to cartilage damage or weakened tendons. Even if an individual does not respond positively after two doses of this medication, administering another injection will likely have minimal effect on their outcome as well.
- Needle tenotomy: A tenotomy is a procedure enabled by ultrasound guidance, which consists of piercing the plantar fascia with small needles in several areas. This action helps to improve blood circulation and alleviates pain while promoting healing. A peer-reviewed study revealed that 80% of patients who received needle tenotomy reported improved heel discomfort relief.
- Platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP): By introducing your own platelets into the plantar fascia, you can activate your body’s innate healing and rejuvenation process. This method is beginning to pick up in popularity, especially because some studies reveal that it rivals or even surpasses cortisone injections as an effective treatment.
Thanks to its remarkable regenerative capabilities, PRP injections are often combined with more extensive treatments such as needle tenotomy and surgery.
Related: What is the Treatment for Heel Pain
Are plantar fasciitis injections right for you?
Injections, such as cortisone, needle tenotomy, and PRP injections, are sometimes prescribed by podiatrists to treat plantar fasciitis. However, these should only be considered after more conservative treatments like physical therapy or taking NSAIDs have been tried first. Your doctor will help you decide if this is the best approach for your foot condition.
Don’t ignore the possibility of plantar fasciitis and its potential for severe heel pain. Promptly consulting with a doctor is paramount as complications can arise if left untreated. Fortunately, this condition has many treatment options from which your podiatrist can help you choose an appropriate one that suits your individual needs best.