Plantar Fasciitis

San Juan Foot & Ankle Center

Podiatry & Foot & Ankle Surgery located in Montrose, CO & Delta, CO

A common cause of heel pain is a condition called plantar fasciitis, which may be referred to as heel spur syndrome if a spur is detected. There are several possible causes for heel pain, including stress fractures, tendinitis, arthritis, nerve irritation, or in some cases a cyst, so it’s essential to have the cause of heel pain diagnosed by a specialist foot and ankle surgeon. Podiatrist Christopher O. Cook, DPM, FACFAS, at the San Juan Foot and Ankle Center, with offices in Montrose and Delta, Colorado, have extensive specialist experience in treating a range of foot and ankle conditions including plantar fasciitis; so if foot pain is causing you problems, call the office today or book an appointment online.

Plantar Fasciitis Q & A

What is plantar fasciitis and what causes it?

There’s a band of tissue called the plantar fascia that extends from heel to toe and supports the foot’s arch. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fascia is irritated and becomes inflamed, causing heel pain.

One of the leading causes is faulty foot structure, for example having flat feet or high arches; the other chief cause is wearing shoes that don’t support your feet, particularly on hard, flat surfaces, or if your job involves being on your feet all day. Being overweight and overusing your feet may also be contributing factors.

What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?

The key symptom of plantar fasciitis is the pain on the bottom of the heel that may extend into the foot’s arch, sometimes accompanied by swelling. Patients frequently experience the most severe pain on first arising in the morning or after being seated for a while, but it often subsides after a couple of minutes walking. In some patients, the pain returns after a period of weight bearing, making walking any distance quite a challenge.

How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?

When you come for an appointment at the San Juan Foot and Ankle Center in Montrose, your doctor talks to you about your medical history and examines your affected foot. This exam enables your doctor to isolate the probable cause of your heel pain, which can then be confirmed using X-rays or other diagnostic imaging techniques. Occasionally patients with heel pain have heel spurs, but these aren’t usually the cause of the pain.

What is the treatment for plantar fasciitis?

There are several simple methods for treating plantar fasciitis yourself at home:

  • Practice leg exercises that stretch your calf muscles, helping recovery and easing the pain
  • Wear shoes with arch support and slightly raised heels to reduce stress on the plantar fascia
  • Avoid walking without shoes, as you’ll be adding to the strain on the plantar fascia
  • Use ice packs to minimize heel inflammation
  • Try to rest your heel as much as possible to give the plantar fascia a chance to heal
  • Take oral pain-killing medications, particularly NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), for severe pain

If these methods aren’t helping reduce your heel pain, make an appointment to see a specialist foot and ankle surgeon for additional treatments, which may include one or more of the following:

  • Fitting pads inside your shoes to lessen the effect of walking on the plantar fascia
  • Taping or strapping your foot to provide support and reduce strain on the plantar fascia
  • Fitting custom orthotics, which are molded to the shape of your foot and help correct underlying structural abnormalities
  • Administering corticosteroid injections to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Applying a removable walking cast that immobilizes your foot and enables you to rest and allow the plantar fascia to heal
  • Fitting a night splint that not only holds the plantar fascia in an extended position while you sleep but also may reduce the pain of getting up in the morning
  • Recommending a course of exercises and physical therapies to ease the heel pain and aid recovery

Most patients respond well to these nonsurgical treatments for plantar fasciitis, but in a small number of cases where treatment fails to provide relief even after several months, your surgeon may want to discuss surgical options to resolve your heel pain.

Dr. Cook at the San Juan Foot and Ankle Center in Montrose has considerable experience and expertise in treating patients with plantar fasciitis. Call the center today, or book an appointment online.

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