There are many different forms of heel pain, from aching tendons to heel spurs to stress fractures and even pinched nerves. But if we had to pick one diagnosis as the most common—at least among adults, anyway—it would definitely be plantar fasciitis.
If you’re struggling with pain along the bottom of the heel or arch, and you tend to notice it the most in the early morning or after getting up from a long rest, there’s a very good chance that plantar fasciitis is at least partly to blame.
While symptoms can linger and even worsen for a long time if you try to ignore them, the good news is that, once you have a professional diagnosis and treatment plan in place, the vast majority of plantar fasciitis cases can be eliminated, or at least significantly improved, in just a couple of months—without surgery.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
This condition refers to swelling or tearing in a long band of tough, fibrous, connective tissue called the plantar fascia, which crosses the sole of your foot from your heel bone to the base of the toes.
Your arch and plantar fascia are meant to flex like a bowstring, cushioning the impact forces when you walk and then springing back into shape as you push off. But if the plantar fascia gets worn down from injuries or overuse, small tears develop in the tissue. Further irritation leads to inflammation and pain.
As mentioned above, the “classic” symptom of plantar fasciitis is stabbing pain under the heel with the first steps of the morning or after resting. This is because the fascia tends to contract and attempt repairs when not in use; further aggravation forces it to suddenly and sharply extend again.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The primary cause in most cases is overuse of the fascia. There may be several contributing factors involved, so we’ll want to not only closely examine your feet, but talk with you about your lifestyle and your symptoms to get the clearest possible picture of your situation.
Common contributing risk factors include, but are not limited to:
- Occupations that keep you on your feet
- Playing sports or having active hobbies (especially if mistakes are made during training or you aren’t taking enough rest days)
- Wearing poor quality shoes
- Having flat feet (or other foot structure or biomechanics issues)
Finding Relief for Your Plantar Fasciitis
Trying to ignore your plantar fasciitis will often result in the pain becoming more severe, chronic, and harder to treat over time. Fortunately, we have many effective treatment options at Kalamazoo Podiatry that can put you back on your feet.
Each treatment plan is customized to the needs of each individual, taking the severity of your condition, your lifestyle, and your goals into account. Common approaches include:
- Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)
- Medications to ease pain (OTC anti-inflammatories, cortisone injection, etc.)
- MLS laser therapy, an advanced tool that naturally boosts tissue healing and rapidly reduces inflammation to control symptoms and shorten recovery time. (Great for athletes and working people!)
- Custom orthotics, which not only help cushion and support the feet to ease short-term symptoms, but also restore proper biomechanics (like a pair of glasses corrects the eyes) to keep the problem from returning.
- Physical therapy to relieve symptoms and strengthen supporting muscles and structures.
As a sports fan himself, Dr. Bredeweg understands how important it is for his patients to recover quickly from pain and stay as active as possible throughout the treatment course. While a certain amount of “rest” will be necessary for healing, you can rest assured that we’ll do everything in our power to help you make a complete and speedy recovery.
Don’t allow your plantar fasciitis to get worse before it gets better! Contact our office today at:
- Kalamazoo: (269) 373-1019
- Allegan: (269) 673-8757
You can also take advantage of our contact form online to have one of our staff members reach out to you.
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