Plantar Fasciitis: Your Most Common Questions Answered

As one of Mayo's most established podiatry clinics, we often treat plantar fasciitis. This frequently painful condition is prevalent; therefore, we see multiple patients daily.

As one would expect, our patients have a lot of questions about this condition. Our podiatrists always provide personalised advice and recommendations based on the patient's condition.

However, there are some common questions we hear over and over. Therefore, for your convenience, we have compiled some of the most common questions and given comprehensive answers below. Please keep in mind that this blog is in no way a substitute for medical advice and should be viewed as a general overview only. If you have any concerns regarding your condition, contact your GP or our podiatry clinic today.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, becomes irritated and inflamed. This can result in sharp, stabbing pain in the heel, especially when you first get out of bed in the morning or after sitting for a while. Over time, the pain may become duller and more persistent. Plantar fasciitis is a common condition, particularly in active people or people who spend a lot of time on their feet. Treatment typically involves rest, ice, physical therapy, and pain relief medication, although in some cases, more invasive measures such as corticosteroid injections or surgery may be necessary.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Various factors can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis, including:

Overuse: Repetitive stress on the foot, such as running or standing for long periods of time, can put strain on the plantar fascia and lead to inflammation.

Age: As we age, the plantar fascia can lose some elasticity, making it more prone to injury.

Foot structure: Certain foot conditions, such as high arches or flat feet, can place added stress on the plantar fascia and increase the risk of injury.

Weight: Carrying excess weight can put additional pressure on the feet and increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.

Tight calf muscles: Tight calf muscles can alter how weight is distributed across the foot and increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.

New or increased physical activity: Starting a new exercise program or increasing the intensity of an existing one can put added stress on the feet and increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.

It's important to note that sometimes the exact cause of plantar fasciitis is unclear, and it may result from a combination of factors.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

Plantar fasciitis is typically treated with a combination of non-surgical and surgical methods, depending on the severity of the condition and the response to non-surgical treatments. Some common treatments for plantar fasciitis include:

  1. Rest and ice: Taking a break from activities that put stress on the feet, and applying ice to the affected area, can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  2. Stretching exercises: Stretching the calf muscles and the plantar fascia can help reduce tension and improve flexibility.
  3. Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility, reducing the risk of plantar fasciitis and other foot conditions.
  4. Pain relief medication: Over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  5. Orthotic devices: Custom orthotic devices, such as shoe inserts, can help distribute weight more evenly across the foot and reduce strain on the plantar fascia.
  6. Surgery: In severe cases of plantar fasciitis that do not respond to non-surgical treatments, surgery may be necessary to release the plantar fascia and reduce pain.

It's important to note that the most effective treatment plan will vary depending on the individual and the specific case of plantar fasciitis.

How long does plantar fasciitis last?

The duration of plantar fasciitis can vary greatly, depending on various factors, including the severity of the condition, the individual's response to treatment, and the underlying cause. For many people, plantar fasciitis can be effectively managed with conservative treatments, such as rest, ice, stretching, and physical therapy, and may take several weeks to several months to resolve.

In more severe cases, plantar fasciitis may persist for several months or even years and require more invasive treatments, such as corticosteroid injections or surgery. Plantar fasciitis may resolve itself independently in some cases, while in others, the pain may become chronic and require ongoing management.

It's essential to work closely with your doctor to develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and to be patient as you work through the healing process. In many cases, it is possible to reduce pain and improve function in the affected foot with proper treatment and care.

As we stated in the opening paragraph, the above should be seen as an information source, not as medical advice. If you have any concerns about your foot health or pre-existing conditions, contact your local medical professional or contact Podi Footcare today.



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