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Signs You Might Have Plantar Fasciitis

st. louis plantar fasciitis doctor

Foot pain can be some of the worst pain to experience. Whether you’re an athletic person or lead a more sedentary lifestyle, experiencing pain when you stand, walk, or run can be enough to make you want to stop all activity until the pain is gone.

Pain from plantar fasciitis can be something that affects your mobility and can lead to long-term pain and disability if left untreated. Learn more about this condition and contact the plantar fasciitis doctors at Missouri Foot & Ankle to diagnose and treat it.

What is the Plantar Fascia?

Sometimes called plantar heel pain, plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. Plantar fascia is the thick, fibrous band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot and is a ligament made of collagen, a more rigid protein than what makes up a tendon. The fascia can become inflamed and painful when tiny tears occur due to the tissues being overly stretched.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

There are a number of causes associated with plantar fasciitis. Anything that puts extra stress on your feet can lead to plantar fasciitis. Pain may be more prominent when the patient first wakes up in the morning or after they have been sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Your weight and age may also affect your plantar fascia; middle-aged adults and people who are overweight are more prone to plantar fasciitis.

If you do repetitive activities on a day-to-day basis such as prolonged standing or walking, or activities like running, you may experience pain related to an irritated or inflamed plantar fascia.

Interestingly enough, while people sometimes attribute plantar fasciitis with heel spurs, it has now been found that plantar fasciitis leads to the development of heel spurs rather than heel spurs causing plantar fasciitis.

Men can get plantar fasciitis; however, it is more commonly found in women.

You increase your risk of developing the condition if you:

  • Wear worn-out shoes with thin soles
  • Wear high-heeled shoes often
  • Have an unusual walk or foot position
  • Have flat feet or a very high arch
  • Have tight Achilles tendons, also called “heel cords”

Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosis and Treatment

A podiatrist often only needs to perform a physical exam in order to determine if a patient has plantar fasciitis. From there, they can come up with a treatment plan for you. Most people who have plantar fasciitis can recover with conservative treatments in several months and very few people end up needing to have surgery.

Treatment may include:

Rest – If exercise or repetitive motions are causing plantar fasciitis, the foot doctor may prescribe rest.

Ice and Anti-Inflammatory Medications – Putting ice on your heel and taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin, for example) or naproxen (Aleve, for example) in order to reduce pain.

Better Shoes – The condition of your shoes may be causing inflammation in your plantar fascia. Shoes with better arch support, well-cushioned soles, and improved shock absorption can reduce the inflammation and, ultimately, the heel pain.

Orthotics and Better Foot Support – If you tend to go barefoot around your house or wear slippers, wear shoes as soon as you wake up in order to give your feet more stability. If you wear different types of shoes depending on the occasion, shoe inserts such as orthotics can be helpful to have because they can be moved from one pair of shoes to another and are molded to your feet.

Night Splints – Wearing a splint that stretches your calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep can be beneficial. This holds the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight and facilitates stretching.

Foot Exercises – Stretching your calves, doing toe exercises, and other types of exercises that can directly improve your ligament will help make it more flexible and reduce your plantar fasciitis pain.

You can also reduce pain by making changes to your lifestyle that may include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight to minimize stress on your plantar fascia
  • Replacing athletic shoes before they stop supporting and cushioning your feet (runners should buy new shoes after about 400 to 500 miles of use)
  • Changing your sport to a more low-impact activity (such as swimming or cycling, instead of walking or jogging)
  • Regularly “ice massaging” the area for about five to seven minutes can help reduce pain and inflammation (freeze a water-filled paper cup and roll it over the site)

The foot doctors at Missouri Foot & Ankle can help improve your foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis or other disorders. Contact us today to set up an appointment!