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.
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.
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: