Plantar fasciitis can be very uncomfortable. The condition is also called heel spur syndrome and it can be extremely painful. This can be caused by walking barefoot, poor arch support or weak foot and ankle muscles, arthritis or a sudden weight gain or increase in activity such as speed walking or jogging.
When you feel symptoms such as pain when standing on your toes or when going up stairs or standing for long periods of time you or even just walking for longer than 15 minutes, it is time to go see a podiatrist.
In order to begin treatment, a diagnosis is needed, The podiatrist may order an MRI or an x-ray to see if there is a visible spur. He also will test your foot by lightly applying pressure to the sides of your heel or applying pressure to the bottom of your foot.
Once the diagnosis is made, the podiatrist will discuss treatment options with you. They will want to start with noninvasive options first. The easiest of these will be trying shoe inserts. They may start you off with over the counter inserts but if those are of no use, then they will make you a pair of orthotic inserts designed especially for your feet.
Other noninvasive methods they would suggest before surgery include using heel pads and cushions to help cushion the affected area. They may also suggest wearing ankle braces for support or using night splints to help stretch the plantar fascia over time. Regular stretching of the foot may also be suggested.
If none of these work, steroid injections are also a possible method of relief. Their purpose is to stop the inflammation and hopefully provide relief. They may also try shockwave treatments to see if they provide any relief by pushing for healing to start.
They direct the waves in the affected area. This works for some, not for others so another method may be tried along with it. They can also try ultrasonic tissue repair, which is where a small needle is inserted to break up and suction out the damaged tissue. This is done via an ultrasound-guided.
If none of the above methods do not relieve the pain, the podiatrist will then suggest trying the surgical method as a last resort. The purpose of the surgery is to lengthen the plantar fascia to help relieve the pressure on it. This is accomplished by cutting the plantar fascia close to the heel and allowing scar tissue to fill in the gap created by this cut. The recovery time is usually about 6 weeks but can be longer depending on if a cast or splint is necessary.
Palmetto State Podiatry can suggest a few changes you can do at home before things get bad such as watching your weight, stretching as often as possible and not wearing worn-out sneakers. They also suggest a sport change if that is a source of pain. Swimming is a low impact compared to jogging but is a great exercise.