Living with plantar fasciitis often means that most days when you first step out of bed, you feel immediate, stabbing pain in your heel. Typically, as you continue to move around, the pain subsides. However, if you sit at a desk for a few hours or stand on your feet for a long period of time, plantar fasciitis pain often returns when you walk around.
Fortunately, this common foot condition is treatable. At Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle in Mission Viejo, California, Dr. Thomas Rambacher, a double board-certified podiatrist, offers a variety of treatments for plantar fasciitis that help speed up your recovery and prevent future injuries.
Understanding plantar fasciitis
The thick band of tissue across the bottom of your foot is called the plantar fascia. This ligament-like band connects your heel bone to your toes. When your plantar fascia functions properly, it helps absorb shock as you walk and supports the arch of your foot.
However, when the plantar fascia becomes irritated or inflamed, it triggers painful symptoms in your heel or anywhere along the arch of your foot. Repetitive stress on the bottom of your foot can cause the ligament to tear. If this happens, you experience increased pain during your first few steps of the day, or after exercising.
Plantar fasciitis risk factors
If you find yourself with heel pain from plantar fasciitis, you’re not alone. Millions of people seek treatment for this common foot problem every year. Some common factors that can increase your risk for plantar fasciitis include:
- Being female
- Having flat feet
- Having high arches
- Standing many hours a day
- Beginning a new physical exercise
- Wearing unsupportive shoes
- High-impact activities like running
- Walking long distances
Tight calf muscles may also increase your risk for plantar fasciitis by making it harder for you to flex your foot upward.
Seeking treatment early on may help you get relief through conservative methods, so it’s a good idea to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Rambacher at the first signs of plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis evaluation and treatment
During your appointment, Dr. Rambacher evaluates your symptoms, reviews your medical history, and physically examines your feet. He looks for signs of inflammation, swelling, and incorrect foot movement. He may also recommend X-rays to rule out the possibility of a fracture.
X-rays can also reveal the presence of a heel spur — a bony protrusion from your heel bone that may or may not cause pain. Depending on the severity of your plantar fasciitis, and if you have heel spurs, Dr. Rambacher creates a personalized treatment plan to provide relief from painful symptoms.
Plantar fasciitis treatment
Dr. Rambacher begins with the most conservative approach as the first measure of pain relief. A combination of stretching, anti-inflammatory medications, and the use of supportive orthotic devices are usually successful in reducing pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. Based on your individual circumstances and symptoms, your treatment plan may include any of the following solutions:
Physical therapy stretches tight ligaments and muscles
Physical therapy exercises can stretch and add strength to your Achilles tendon and lower leg muscles. Massage, contrast baths, or ultrasonography may also help long-term healing. Resting and icing the painful area regularly can help alleviate symptoms as well.
Cortisone injections temporarily alleviate pain
Unbearable or severe foot pain may warrant cortisone injections. Cortisone injections in your foot can temporarily ease symptoms and keep inflammation down for about a month. This may allow you to participate in physical therapy without worsening your pain as you attempt to heal the plantar fascia.
Surgery for plantar fasciitis is rare
Surgery for plantar fasciitis is rare and typically addresses severe pain that doesn’t respond to more conservative treatment methods. Plantar fasciitis surgery detaches the plantar fascia from the heel bone so you get relief from extreme pain.
After surgery, you can go home the same day and you’ll wear a boot or splint as your foot heals. You should avoid putting any weight on your foot until Dr. Rambacher recommends it. For most people, plantar fasciitis symptoms become more manageable within a few months of treatment or a surgical procedure.
If you regularly experience foot pain when you get out of bed, don’t wait to seek professional treatment. For expert diagnosis and solutions for long-term pain relief from plantar fasciitis, give us a call today at 949-916-0077. Or, book an appointment online anytime, day or night.