Arlington Podiatry Center
611 South Carlin Springs Road
Arlington, VA 22204
Foot Pain Relief
The plantar fascia is a ligament-like band extending from the ball of your foot to the heel. The fascia is comprised of three bands that insert into the bottom of the heel bone. The plantar fascia functions to stabilize the foot by raising the arch of your foot as it pushes off the ground.
The plantar fascia becomes problematic when there are biomechanical deficiencies, other systemic conditions, or mechanical over-use, causing a strain of the fascia leading to inflammation and pain within the plantar fascia and its insertion into the heel bone. The pain and inflammation result from the plantar fascia pulling off the tissue as it inserts into the heel bone (heel spur).
The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is varying degrees of pain at the bottom of your foot when you stand and is especially noticed first thing in the morning. Pain usually occurs on the inside of the foot where the heel and arch meet. The pain generally lessens after a few steps but it will recur after a period of rest.
Plantar fasciitis is often caused by poor foot biomechanics. When walking, the foot elongates and flattens thus causing a strain on the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia may also cause pain if an active patient over uses or strains the fascia, i.e. running or playing tennis.
Reduction of symptoms is the main focus of the podiatrist. For instance, if your pain is due to poor foot mechanics, the doctor may prescribe custom made functional inserts for your shoes, (orthotic devices).To reduce severe pain and swelling your podiatrist may prescribe medications or injections coupled with physical therapy such as ultrasound and hydrotherapy.
To relieve mild symptoms, aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications may be effective. Stretching of the posterior calf muscles (Achilles tendon) as well as heel lift can also help.
Other problems often linked to plantar fasciitis are heel spurs, bursitis, or neuroma. The pulling of the plantar fascia on the heel bone can form a heel spur. Bursitis may also occur when a swollen plantar fascia presses against a plantar bursa.
Usually these conservative measures are effective in treating the plantar fasciitis condition and will prevent the need for surgical intervention. If rest or anti-inflammatory medications do not relieve symptoms, see your podiatrist so that he or she may accurately diagnose your condition and suggest other treatment options.