Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis Specialist
The doctors at the Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Jersey provide excellent care for patients suffering from plantar fasciitis. Appointments are available at offices located in Westfield, Union, Rahway, Morristown, and Clark, New Jersey.

Q & A

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia, a strong band of connective tissue that runs from the bottom of the foot to the heel becomes inflamed and aggravated. Pain is usually felt in the heel and along the bottom of the foot. Pain from plantar fasciitis is typically worse in the morning and following periods of inactivity. The discomfort and stiffness fades throughout the day as the foot is used, however the pain returns after another round of inactivity. Plantar fasciitis can be addressed with gentle stretching exercises and massage to relieve swelling and increase flexibility and strength in the tendon itself. In some instances, injections of anti-inflammatory or corticosteroid medications into the heel prescribed when stretching and massage do not provide relief.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is typically caused by overuse of the feet and a tightening in the Achilles’ tendon. When the Achilles’ tendon becomes tight, it pulls on the fascia of the foot. This tightness is responsible for the stabbing pain many people experience first thing in the morning. Some contributing factors include being overweight or obese, which puts additional strain on the feet. Long distance runners often experience problems with their plantar fascia from the repeated impact and strain of running. Also, those who work in physically demanding professions, who spend many hours on their feet each day are more likely to experience plantar fasciitis.

How Is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?

The doctors at the Foot and Ankle Specialists of New Jersey typically begin treatment for plantar fasciitis conservatively. Treatment often begins with the following advice and practices, which are listed in order of most conservative through more invasive:

  • Avoid being barefoot- this can relieve pressure and strain on the ligament
  • Icing- employ an ice pack for 20 minutes 3-4 times a day to reduce swelling
  • Shoe modifications- wear shoes with optimal arch support and a slightly raised heel
  • Limit specific activities- minimize activities which can strain the fascia
  • Medications- NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can minimize swelling and pain as well
  • Padding- pads in shoes and straps can support the ankle can lessen strain
  • Orthotic devices- custom devices can correct structural issues
  • Splints- wearing a splint while sleeping can maintain a stretch over the course of the night and lessen morning pain
  • Walking cast- a cast can keep the foot immobile for a while to allow it heal
  • Injections- corticosteroid injections can reduce pain and inflammation
  • EPAT® (Extracorporeal pulse activation technology) is a non-invasive treatment used to stimulate healing and allows gradual regeneration of the damaged tissue.
  • Surgery can be used to repair a bony growth if one is present.
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