If your first few steps out of bed in the morning cause severe pain in the heel of your foot, you may have plantar fasciitis, an overuse injury that affects the sole of the foot. A diagnosis of
plantar fasciitis means you have inflamed the tough, fibrous band of tissue (fascia) connecting your heel bone to the base of your toes.
Inappropriate footwear is the No. 1 cause of plantar fasciosis. Footwear that possesses toe spring and a tapered toe box holds your big toe in an adducted and extended position. In this position,
your abductor hallucis muscle-the muscle responsible for moving your big toe away from your footâs midline-pulls on a foot structure called the flexor retinaculum and may restrict blood flow
through your posterior tibial artery, the vessel that carries blood to the bottom of your foot. Tissues in the sole of your feet begin to degenerate as blood supply to this area is decreased. Other
recognized causes of or contributors to this health problem include the following, calf muscle shortening, plantar fascia contracture, Obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, Psoriatic
arthritis, Corticosteroid injections.
Plantar fascia usually causes pain and stiffness on the bottom of your heel although some people have heel spurs and suffer no symptoms at all. Occasionally, heel pain is also associated with other
medical disorders such as arthritis (inflammation of the joint), bursitis (inflammation of the tissues around the joint). Those who have symptoms may experience âFirst stepâ pain (stone bruise
sensation) after getting out of bed or sitting for a period of time. Pain after driving. Pain on the bottom of your heel. Deep aching pain. Pain can be worse when barefoot.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam to check for tenderness in your foot and the exact location of the pain to make sure that itâs not caused by a different foot problem. The doctor may ask
you to flex your foot while he or she pushes on the plantar fascia to see if the pain gets worse as you flex and better as you point your toe. Mild redness or swelling will also be noted. Your doctor
will evaluate the strength of your muscles and the health of your nerves by checking your reflexes, your muscle tone, your sense of touch and sight, your coordination, and your balance. X-rays or a
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may be ordered to check that nothing else is causing your heel pain, such as a bone fracture.
Non Surgical Treatment
More than 90% of patients with plantar fasciitis will improve within 10 months of starting simple treatment methods. Rest. Decreasing or even stopping the activities that make the pain worse is the
first step in reducing the pain. You may need to stop athletic activities where your feet pound on hard surfaces (for example, running or step aerobics). Ice. Rolling your foot over a cold water
bottle or ice for 20 minutes is effective. This can be done 3 to 4 times a day. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen reduce pain and inflammation. Using the
medication for more than 1 month should be reviewed with your primary care doctor. Exercise. Plantar fasciitis is aggravated by tight muscles in your feet and calves. Stretching your calves and
plantar fascia is the most effective way to relieve the pain that comes with this condition. Cortisone injections. Cortisone, a type of steroid, is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. It can be
injected into the plantar fascia to reduce inflammation and pain. Your doctor may limit your injections. Multiple steroid injections can cause the plantar fascia to rupture (tear), which can lead to
a flat foot and chronic pain. Soft heel pads can provide extra support. Supportive shoes and orthotics. Shoes with thick soles and extra cushioning can reduce pain with standing and walking. As you
step and your heel strikes the ground, a significant amount of tension is placed on the fascia, which causes microtrauma (tiny tears in the tissue). A cushioned shoe or insert reduces this tension
and the microtrauma that occurs with every step. Soft silicone heel pads are inexpensive and work by elevating and cushioning your heel. Pre-made or custom orthotics (shoe inserts) are also helpful.
Night splints. Most people sleep with their feet pointed down. This relaxes the plantar fascia and is one of the reasons for morning heel pain. A night splint stretches the plantar fascia while you
sleep. Although it can be difficult to sleep with, a night splint is very effective and does not have to be used once the pain is gone. Physical therapy. Your doctor may suggest that you work with a
physical therapist on an exercise program that focuses on stretching your calf muscles and plantar fascia. In addition to exercises like the ones mentioned above, a physical therapy program may
involve specialized ice treatments, massage, and medication to decrease inflammation around the plantar fascia. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). During this procedure, high-energy shockwave
impulses stimulate the healing process in damaged plantar fascia tissue. ESWT has not shown consistent results and, therefore, is not commonly performed. ESWT is noninvasive-it does not require a
surgical incision. Because of the minimal risk involved, ESWT is sometimes tried before surgery is considered.
When more-conservative measures aren't working, your doctor might recommend steroid shots. Injecting a type of steroid medication into the tender area can provide temporary pain relief. Multiple
injections aren't recommended because they can weaken your plantar fascia and possibly cause it to rupture, as well as shrink the fat pad covering your heel bone. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy.
In this procedure, sound waves are directed at the area of heel pain to stimulate healing. It's usually used for chronic plantar fasciitis that hasn't responded to more-conservative treatments. This
procedure may cause bruises, swelling, pain, numbness or tingling and has not been shown to be consistently effective. Surgery. Few people need surgery to detach the plantar fascia from the heel
bone. It's generally an option only when the pain is severe and all else fails. Side effects include a weakening of the arch in your foot.