Plantar Fasciitis: Symptoms and Treatment

Heel Pain? It's Probably Plantar Fasciitis.

Did you know that 10% of the population will experience plantar fasciitis at some point in their lifetime?

As one of the most common foot injuries and the leading cause of heel pain, plantar fasciitis ((PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is especially prevalent in runners and athletes, 40-60 year-old adults, obese adults, those who wear low-support shoes (like heels or thin-soled shoes), and people who spend a lot of time standing. 

Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury, caused by inflammation. The thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, from your heel to your toes, called the “plantar fascia,” is responsible for absorbing shock as well as supporting the arch of your foot. Naturally, it carries a lot of pressure, and can be easily stretched or torn through repeated straining. 

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis can develop slowly or seemingly overnight. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis can include:

  • Sharp or dull pain in the heel, particularly in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
  • Pain in the heel when walking, running, or stretching the foot, or directly after exercise.
  • Pain in heel while walking up stairs.
  • Pain in heel when walking barefoot.

Ignoring the pain of plantar fasciitis can worsen it, making it become a chronic injury. Taking action and pursuing proper treatment is necessary for healing. 

Diagnosing & Treating Plantar Fasciitis

Your doctor may diagnose plantar fasciitis through an analysis of your symptoms, or a medical imaging test like an X-ray or MRI to rule out fractures or arthritis. 

Home therapy options include rest, icing the foot, taking anti-inflammatory medications, and massaging and stretching the foot. Investing in a night splint can help stretch the inflamed tendon. Purchasing proper inserts (orthotics) for tennis shoes can help support and improve the injury. Buying a foot roller or rolling the foot on a hard ball can help relieve pain as well.

Working with a physical therapist is also highly encouraged. A physical therapist can help you assess your gait, perform strengthening and stretching exercises on the foot, tape it to relieve pain, and more.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections are another option to target inflammation. PRP is made by placing the patient’s blood in a centrifuge. Different components of the whole blood such as the platelets, red cells, and stem cells with growth factors are separated. The cells that can reduce inflammation and heal the injury are then injected into the area of the plantar fascia.

For more severe or prolonged cases, treatment options include corticosteroid injections, casting, and surgery. 

If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of plantar fasciitis in the Louisville, Kentucky-area, board certified sports medicine physician Dr. Stacie Grossfeld at Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC can help. Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC is accepting new patients, and same day/telemedicine appointments are available. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 502-212-2663.