Plantar Fasciitis(Heel Spurs)
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Heel pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition that is sometimes also called heel spur syndrome when a spur is present. Heel pain may also be due to other causes, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation or, rarely, a cyst. Because there are several potential causes, it is important to have heel pain properly diagnosed. A foot and ankle surgeon is able to distinguish between all the possibilities and to determine the underlying source of your heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. In this condition, the fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis are:
Pain on the bottom of the heel
Pain in the arch of the foot
Pain that is usually worse upon arising
Pain that increases over a period of months
Swelling on the bottom of the heel
People with plantar fasciitis often describe the pain as worse when they get up in the morning or after they have been sitting for long periods of time. After a few minutes of walking, the pain decreases because walking stretches the fascia. For some people, the pain subsides but returns after spending long periods of time on their feet.
Treatment strategies for plantar fasciitis include:
Injection therapy. In some cases, corticosteroid injections are used to help reduce the inflammation and relieve pain.
Removable walking cast. A removable walking cast may be used to keep your foot immobile for a few weeks to allow it to rest and heal.
Orthotic devices. Custom orthotic devices that fit into your shoe help correct the underlying structural abnormalities causing the plantar fasciitis.
Night splint. Wearing a night splint allows you to maintain an extended stretch of the plantar fascia while sleeping. This may help reduce the morning pain experienced by some patients.
Physical therapy. Exercises and other physical therapy measures may be used to help provide relief.
When Is Surgery Needed?
Only a small percentage of patients may require surgery for plantar fasciitis. If, after several months of nonsurgical treatment, you continue to have heel pain, surgery will be considered. We will exhaust all conservative treatments to prevent surgical treatment of the condition.