Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common complaints relating to pain of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) on the bottom of the foot. This tissue creates the arch of your foot by connecting your heel bone to your toes.
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis relates to poor structure of the foot. It can also occur when the tissue on the bottom of your foot is overstretched or overused.
- The symptoms of plantar fasciitis are:
- Pain while climbing stairs or engaging in physical activity
- Pain on the bottom of the heel
- Pain that is usually worse when you wake up and being walking
- Pain that increases over long periods of time
People with plantar fasciitis often describe the pain as worse when they get up in the morning or after they‘ve 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 of plantar fasciitis begins with first-line strategies, which you can begin at home:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or Tylenol, may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Heel stretching exercises that stretch out the calf muscles help ease pain and assist with recovery.
- Wearing proper footwear that provides ample support. Your doctor may prescribe custom othodics.
- Applying an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel on your heel for 10-15 minutes a few times a day helps reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Resting and letting the heel recover.
If you still have pain after several weeks, see your doctor, who may add more complex non-surgical treatments.
When Is Surgery Needed?
In rare cases, patients do not respond to non-surgical treatments and therefore surgical options must be explored with your doctor. Your doctor will determine the most beneficial surgical options for you.