PLANTAR FASCIITIS

The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia becomes irritated and inflamed, causing pain on the bottom of the heel.

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the leading causes of heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis, which is particularly common in runners, causes a stabbing pain that occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once the affected foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after standing for a long period or getting up from a seated position.

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Aside from runners, people who are overweight, people who do a lot of standing on hard surfaces (teachers, factory workers, etc.), and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are at risk of plantar fasciitis.

Diagnosed with a physical exam and x-rays, plantar fasciitis will typically be treated with physical therapy, medication, foot-bracing, or cortisone injections.

  • Physical therapy – A physical therapist can instruct you in a series of exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and to strengthen lower leg muscles, which stabilize your ankle and heel.
  • Night splints – Your physical therapist or doctor may recommend wearing a splint that stretches your calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep. This holds the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight and facilitates stretching.
  • Orthotics – Your doctor may prescribe off-the-shelf heel cups, cushions, or custom-fitted arch supports to help distribute pressure to your feet more evenly.
  • Medications – Pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen may ease the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis.
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Unfortunately, symptoms often return in a high percentage of patients when treated in this fashion. While surgery to cut the plantar fascia is an option, it often results in a gradual destruction of the arch, which can eventually collapse.

Surgery should be used as a last resort. A much safer and long-lasting approach to healing plantar fasciitis is through the use of regenerative treatments, like proliferation or stem cell therapy.