Heel pain can come in many forms. But certainly the most common, at least for adults, is a condition known as plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is the result of an injury to the plantar fascia. This is a long, thick, and tough band of fibrous tissue—similar to a ligament—that crosses the whole of your arch from toes to heel. When the fascia is overstretched and irritated, pain is usually felt directly under the heel, where the fascia connects to the heel bone.
The good news is that even the most severe cases of plantar fasciitis are almost always treatable without surgery. But if your heel pain is keeping you from doing the things you love, and isn’t getting better after a few days of rest (or keeps returning again and again), it’s time to call in the experts.
Our doctors treat plantar fasciitis nearly every day, and are exceptionally well qualified to identify the root causes of your pain and set you on a stable road to recovery.
How Do I Know If I Have Plantar Fasciitis?
It’s important to understand that confirming a diagnosis may not be possible until you visit a specialist, as the symptoms of plantar fasciitis overlap with a number of very different kinds of injuries and conditions.
That said, you should probably consider plantar fasciitis the top suspect if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sharp, stabbing pain concentrated on the bottom of the foot underneath the heel, or slightly in front of it.
- Pain tends to spike immediately after getting out of bed or standing up after a period of rest, then decreases after a few minutes of walking.
- Pain is often worse following (although not necessarily during) periods of exercise.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
There’s not necessarily one single cause for plantar fasciitis. Often, a combination of factors is responsible. Some of the most common include:
- Wearing unsupportive, ill-fitting, or poor-quality shoes.
- Wearing shoes that are not appropriate for your chosen activity.
- Occupations that require you to spend a lot of time on your feet.
- Participating in high-impact exercise (running, basketball, dance, etc.) without adequate preparation, training, or rest time.
- Having a foot structure or biomechanical issue (such as flat feet, high arches, or overpronation) that naturally increases stress loads on the plantar fascia.
- Being overweight.
During your initial appointment, we’ll spend some time chatting with you about your lifestyle, your symptoms, when you first noticed the pain, when your pain is worst, etc. to help isolate which of these (or other) underlying causes might be most significant in your case.
How Is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?
As you might imagine, the best treatment plan for plantar fasciitis will depend on which underlying causes are most responsible—as well as the severity of your symptoms, your lifestyle goals, and other considerations.
Our approach is always to emphasize conservative care whenever possible, and fortunately plantar fasciitis rarely requires surgical intervention. A typical treatment plan will include many of the following elements:
- Taking some time to rest and avoid high-impact exercise, which gives the plantar fascia the time it needs to heal on its own.
- Taking over-the-counter medications or, if necessary, getting a cortisone injection to manage short-term pain while the fascia heals.
- Switching to better, more comfortable, more appropriate shoes.
- Prescribing orthotics, if necessary, to provide more specialized and precise cushioning and support to your arches and heels.
- Wearing night splints while you sleep to keep the plantar fascia in an elongated position. (This can significantly reduce the amount of pain you feel when you first get up in the morning.)
- Performing regular stretches and exercises meant to keep the plantar fascia (and the surrounding muscles and tissues) strong and flexible.
- Modifying your exercise routine or your environment at home or work to reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
In rare cases where plantar fasciitis is severe, we might recommend temporary immobilization via a walker boot or short cast. Surgery is a last resort possibility, but it’s only necessary in extreme situations. Easily 95% of plantar fasciitis patients are able to relieve their pain without a surgical procedure, so if you follow our guidelines carefully your odds are extremely good.
Don’t Wait Any Longer to Treat Your Plantar Fasciitis
The earlier you seek a diagnosis and a professional treatment plan, the less time your plantar fasciitis injury has to get worse—and the sooner you can get back to doing what you love without pain.
We are here and ready to help at any of our six metro area locations in both Missouri and Kansas. Just call us at (816) 455-1155, or click the button below to request your appointment today.
Kansas City Office
9411 N. Oak Trafficway #230
Kansas City, MO 64155
550 Rush Creek Pkwy Suite A
Liberty, MO 64068
2800 NE 60th St.
Gladstone, MO 64119
11413 Ash St.
Leawood, KS 66211
1004 Progress Dr. #180
Lansing, KS 66043
23351 Prairie Star Pkwy Suite A275
Lenexa, KS 66227