Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common orthopedic pathology that affects more than 3 million people in the US per year. It involves the plantar fascia which is a thick ligament that runs across the bottom of the foot, from the toes to the heel bone. The ligament serves as a support for the arch and is a shock absorber. Injury or repetitive stress to the plantar fascia can cause inflammation, resulting in pain and stiffness, most commonly along its insertion site onto the heel. Too much pressure can also cause damage resulting in small tears or even a complete tear of the ligament.  

Common Symptoms 

Factors Contributing to Plantar Fasciitis 

Testing and Diagnosis 

A physical exam will show tenderness along the plantar fascia, most commonly along the bottom of the heel where the ligament inserts into the heel bone. X-rays will likely be taken to rule out other issues. Sometimes the x-rays will reveal a heel spur. Heel spurs have not been linked to heel pain, as some people with spurs have no pain. However, it is evidence that the ligament has been tight for some time, pulling on the insertion site resulting in the growth of a spur. Ultrasound and MRI can also be used to evaluate for plantar fasciitis.  

Treatment 

Most cases are treated successfully with conservative treatments, especially if addressed early on. Few go on to require surgical treatment.  

Conservative Treatment

Surgical Treatment 

Addressing heel pain early on is key to getting patients back on their feet pain-free. If you are experiencing heel pain or have any questions about this common pathology, contact our office today!

Author
Visoth Chan, DPM Dr. Visoth Chan is the owner and medical director of Aloha Foot and Ankle Associates. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience. Following this, she received her Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree at the California School of Podiatric Medicine in Oakland. She subsequently completed her podiatric surgical residency at White Memorial in Los Angeles. She takes great pride in her role at Aloha Foot and Ankle Associates and strives to make sure her patients have the best care possible. When not treating patients, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family, especially her daughter, Emmylou.

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