Plantar Fasciitis

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.

Rolling foot on tennis ball

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

It’s a sharp pain you feel in the morning as soon as you keep your feet on the floor. It originates at the bottom or near the heel. 

Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects your heel to the toes, also known as Plantar Fascia. This tissue supports the arch of your feet and can get teared up due to overstretching of the arch. 

Usually, it’s nothing to worry about and can be taken care of with home remedies themselves. But if you are experiencing prolonged or unbearable pain, it is advisable to visit a reliable podiatrist to relieve the pain and stop further damage. 

How Do I Know If I Have Plantar Fasciitis?

The most decisive factor of plantar fasciitis is a sharp pain in your heel. Usually, there’s no change in the outer exterior of the foot, so you won’t be able to judge whether it’s plantar fasciitis or some other heel pain. That’s why it is advisable to get an expert opinion, just to be sure. 

The few distinctive symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis are: 

  • Dull or stabbing pain on the bottom of the heel
  • Burning sensation with pain around the heel 
  • The area around the heel swells up 
  • Pain worsens when you get up in the morning, after sitting around a while, or after exercising 
  • The back of the heel (or Achilles tendon) tightening

Sometimes, not treating this within the appropriate time period can lead the pain to exist for months. The earlier you get it treated, the less harm you’ll inflict upon your heel. 

walking up the stairs

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Your plantar fascia absorbs the shock inflicted upon your foot while walking. If the pressure on this area gets overbearing, you can develop a tear in that region. Basically, when you overstretch your arch, it gets swollen & inflamed, causing pain. 

There’s no definitive cause for it, but usually, it’s an effect of overactivity or unnecessary pressure on the arch. 

Generally, you are the risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis if you: 

  • Are overweight 
  • Are an adult over the age of 40
  • Perform exercises that require a lot of running or heavy involvement of your feet, like marathons, weightlifting, ballet dancing, etc. 
  • Your daily routine involves much standing or walking.
  • Wear worn-out shoes or ones with thin soles. 
  • Have flat feet or walk unusually. 

In many cases, the absolute cause could be unclear. Often, it’s a combination of any of the above. 

treating plantar fasciitis

Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

There are plenty of treatment options available. But a personalized plan depending on where exactly you are feeling the pain, how severe your pain is, your medical history, and other considerations would be the best choice.

Plantar Fasciitis mostly requires self-limiting to be treated without any invasive therapy in 95% of the cases.

Conservative care can easily heal your heel.

Here’s what a typical plan would be like:

  • Home remedies: Initially, you will be advised of some home remedies which include, applying ice to the affected area, and using braces or inflammatory drugs.
  • Physical Therapy: You will be counseled to perform specific therapeutic exercises that will stretch your arc & Achilles tendon, providing stability to your heel.
  • Ample Rest: Most patients are advised to rest because prolonged high-pressure activity can cause more damage. So, you’ll be taking a rest from exercising, walking, or standing for long hours. In some cases, with severe symptoms, we also recommend complete rest with a short cast allowing it room to heal.
  • Custom Orthotics: Customer Orthotics are prescribed for extra cushioning, relieving your pain while walking or standing. This is an efficient solution as the pressure is distributed evenly on your plantar fascia (the foot’s arch), restricting pain & any further damage.
  • Corticosteroid Injection: If the pain is unbearable and prolonged, we inject the damaged section directly with a corticosteroid, easing the pain.
  • Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: Before Surgery, Extracorporeal therapy is one last option we consider if the pain continues. In this, sound waves are introduced as a stimulus to the affected area to relieve pain.

We do a surgical procedure in rare cases where the pain is highly severe and increasing. But it’s very infrequent. In 95% of the cases, self-limiting and care are enough to ease the pain and heal the affected area.

How Long Does Plantar Fasciitis Last?

Once you know that plantar fasciitis is causing your heel or arch pain, it’s natural to wonder when it’s going to feel better. You may have less pain in a few weeks with at-home treatment. Or your symptoms could take a year to resolve.

Why such a large range? Your plantar fasciitis is not exactly the same as anyone else’s. Several factors affect how long it may last.

The Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

If you’re unable to rest your feet or stop irritating the area, it may take longer for the injury to heal. Causes that are difficult or take time to address include:

  • Working long hours on your feet
  • Obesity
  • Structural issues like flat feet or high arches

Being unable to eliminate the cause, even for a little while, may add some time to your recovery. You can help overcome this challenge by making some changes. Wear supportive shoes, lose weight, and talk with us about custom orthotics.

Severity and Treatment

The sooner you see your doctor about foot pain, the sooner treatment can begin. Most plantar fasciitis develops over time. The quicker it’s treated the less the injury will progress.

Mild plantar fasciitis may respond to home treatments including rest, ice, and exercises. You could see a major improvement in a month or two.

A more severe injury may require physical therapy, custom orthotics, corticosteroid injections, or extracorporeal shock wave therapy. The severity of the injury and the complexity of the treatment path you’re on will impact your recovery time.

Your treatment path is based on your lifestyle, age, health, and injury. How they combine affects how long your plantar fasciitis will last. With treatment, you should have less pain within weeks and most people fully recover within a year.

We want you back on your pain-free feet as quickly as possible. Contact our offices today for help with your heel pain!

Relieve Your Pain & Stop Further Damage with Proper Treatment

If Plantar Fasciitis is not correctly treated, it can damage the heel, further worsening the pain. 

Nip this in the bud once and for all before it gets out of hand. 

Give us a call at (816) 455-1155 or click the button below to schedule your appointment today. We are available at all six locations in Missouri and Kansas.