Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

If you have heel pain, you may have plantar fasciatitis. It's common among older peopleand especially among athletes. Plantar fasciatitis develops when ligaments that support the arch become strained, and the pain and stiffness gets progressively worse. Rest, ice, stretching, pain relievers all helpbut you may also need a new pair of running shoes.

Recently Answered

  • 1 Answer
    A
    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    This is one battle you don't want to charge into. In fact, the more you rest your foot, the better, at least for a week or so. Your plantar fascia -- the thick ligament connecting your heel to your toes -- needs a time out, since inflammation (the "itis" in fasciitis) is often from overuse. That's why it's common in runners. A tight Achilles tendon, a high arch, wearing shoes with high heels, poor arch support or worn soles or being very overweight can take a toll on your sole, too.

    Giving your foot a break doesn't mean you have to sit around. Switch to activities like swimming or rowing (indoors or out), or use weight machines that don't press on your feet. Meanwhile, these remedies will ease that hot-coals feeling in your heel:
    • Give yourself a 10- to15-minute ice massage twice a day. Roll your foot back and forth over a can of frozen juice to increase blood flow and help break down adhesions from the inflammation.
    • Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, for pain relief.
    • Place heel pads (you can find them at the drugstore) in your shoes.
    • Do foot stretches before you get out of bed. That will reduce the pain, which is usually worse when your feet hit the floor in the morning. To do these stretches, sit up, bend forward and try to touch your toes, curling your toes toward your knees. Or just put one leg over the knee of the other, reach for the toes on the upper leg and pull toward you. Hold for 5 minutes.
    • Stretch during the day. Put the ball of the sore foot on a step, hold the railing, and let your heel hang down. Or repeat the above toe stretch.
    • Save the stilettos for weddings and parties -- most short guys think plantar fasciitis is revenge for high heels.

  • 1 Answer
    A

    Plantar fasciitis may limit exercise capability and normal daily activities. Patients often limp, place the body weight on the toes, or try to avoid walking on the affected foot. Patients may adjust the way they walk or run in order to avoid knee, hip, back, and other foot pain.

    Plantar fasciitis may prevent the patient from bending the foot, causing the toes to point upwards toward the shins, which may be painful. Patients may also be unable to bend the foot, resulting in decreased flexibility.

    Complications may also arise from treatment selection. Corticosteroid injections and surgical procedures may cause the fascia to rupture or tear and worsen symptoms, such as pain and weakness.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

  • 1 Answer
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    AHealthwise answered

    Doctors usually diagnose plantar fasciitis based on a medical history and a physical exam. Your doctor will check your feet for problems that affect how your feet work (biomechanical factors), such as a high arch, flat feet, abnormal gait or tight Achilles tendon or calf muscles. Your doctor will also look for excessive tenderness and examine joint motion and looseness, muscle and tendon function, nerve function and blood circulation.

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  • 1 Answer
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    AHealthwise answered

    Findings of a physical exam may include the following.

    Normal

    In a normal exam there is no pain, tenderness or swelling in the heel area. Structure, function and biomechanics are normal as well.

    Abnormal

    Abnormal findings that may point to plantar fasciitis include the following:

    • You have pain when you take your first steps after getting out of bed or after sitting for a long period of time. Your doctor usually will learn this during a review of your medical history.
    • When your doctor presses your heel, you have a tender spot deep in the tissue on the bottom of your heel where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone just in front of the heel pad.
    • Sometimes there is tenderness in the middle of the plantar ligament or elsewhere in the plantar ligament. This pain is more common in athletes who spend a lot of time on the balls of their feet, as in aerobics, sprinting, basketball or cycling.
    • Flexing or standing on your toes causes heel pain.
    • Local swelling in the bottom of the foot may be present, which may mean there is more significant tearing in the plantar fascia.
    • When you stand, you have a high or low arch. When you walk, you have excessive inward rolling of the foot (pronation) when your heel strikes the ground.
    • Visible inflammation is usually not present.

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  • 1 Answer
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    Tai_Chi_Plantar_Fasciitis

    Plantar fasciitis can cause intense pain in the foot and heal, but you can get relief by practicing an ancient Chinese martial art. Watch the video as a Tai Chi expert shares with Dr. Oz how a few slow, gentle exercises can help treat plantar fasciitis.


  • 1 Answer
    A
    You could do some range of motion exercises that consist of pointing your toes and bringing your foot up to your chest, then down to the ground, and then inward and outward to bring strength back to your foot. You could also roll a marble around the underside of your foot. This can help to break up the tissue. If you can find a smooth surface such as a hardwood or tile floor, you could use a hand towel and curl it up with your toes. This helps build strength. If the pain is persistent over a long period or gets worse, contact your doctor. (This answer provided for NATA by the California University of Pennsylvania Athletic Training Education Program.)
  • 1 Answer
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    Plantar fasciitis can be treated with rest and ice. Place a frozen water bottle over the bottom of your foot for up to 10 minutes. This will calm the spasm and break up some of the tissue. You could also take any type of anti-inflammatory medication. (This answer provided for NATA by the California University of Pennsylvania Athletic Training Education Program.)
  • 1 Answer
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    AHealthwise answered

    Surgery is usually not needed for plantar fasciitis. About 95 out of 100 people who have plantar fasciitis are able to relieve heel pain without surgery. Your doctor may consider surgery if nonsurgical treatment has not helped and heel pain is restricting your daily activities. Some doctors feel that you should try nonsurgical treatment for at least 6 months before you consider surgery.

    The main types of surgery for plantar fasciitis are:

    • Plantar fascia release. This procedure involves cutting part of the plantar fascia ligament. This releases the tension on the ligament and relieves inflammation.
    • Other procedures, such as removing a heel spur or stretching or loosening specific foot nerves. These surgeries are usually done in combination with plantar fascia release when there is lasting heel pain and another heel problem.

    Experts in the past thought that heel spurs caused plantar fasciitis. Now experts generally believe that heel spurs are the result, not the cause, of plantar fasciitis. Many people with large heel spurs never have heel pain or plantar fasciitis. So surgery to remove heel spurs is rarely done.

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  • 2 Answers
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    AHealthwise answered

    You have a greater chance of developing plantar fasciitis if you:

    • Are middle-aged or older.
    • Walk with an inward twist or roll of the foot ( pronation ) or have high arches or flat feet.
    • Are overweight or suddenly gain a lot of weight.
    • Have tight Achilles tendons (which attach the calf muscles to the heel bones) or tight calf muscles.
    • Have habits or do activities that increase the stress on your feet, such as:
      • Wearing shoes with poor cushioning.
      • Walking or running without being conditioned for these activities.
      • Changing your walking or running surface (for example, from grass to concrete).
      • Having a job that involves prolonged standing on hard surfaces.
    • Are an athlete or a member of the military. Some athletes, especially runners, are more likely to get plantar fasciitis because of:
      • Things that affect the way their feet strike the ground, such as not having enough flexibility in the foot and ankle or having stronger muscles in one leg than in the other.
      • The repetitive nature of sports activities.
      • Improper training.
      • If you are a runner, you increase your chance of developing plantar fasciitis if you:

        • Abruptly change how hard or how long you run.
        • Run on steep hills.
        • Wear running shoes that do not have a cushioned sole, lack good arch support or are worn out.

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  • 1 Answer
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    AHealthwise answered

    Plantar fasciitis usually develops gradually. You may have heel pain only when you take your first steps after getting out of bed or after sitting for a long period of time. If you do not rest your feet, the pain will get worse. Other things, such as the repetitive stress of walking, standing, running or jumping, will add to the injury, inflammation, and pain. The injured ligament may never heal completely if you are not able to stop the activity or change the condition that caused it.

    As plantar fasciitis progresses:

    • The heel pain gradually gets worse.
    • You may change the way you walk to relieve the pain. This eventually may lead to more discomfort and pain and other problems with your foot, leg, hip or back. Daily activities or sports may become even more limited.
    • You eventually may have pain with any weight-bearing activity. Running and jumping may no longer be possible.
    • A heel spur may form as a result of continued stress as the plantar fascia pulls on the heel bone. (By itself, a heel spur does not cause plantar fasciitis and does not usually cause problems. And you can have plantar fasciitis and not have a heel spur.)

    If the condition is not treated, plantar fasciitis can cause constant heel pain when you stand or walk.

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