Inflammation of the tissue or tendons at the bottom of your feet can be painful. From stabbing heel pain, to an aching arch, the discomfort could be an indication of plantar fasciitis or tendon inflammation.
Each year, about 2 million people are treated for plantar fasciitis, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. During a visit to your orthopedics office, your doctor will determine whether the pain is caused by plantar fasciitis—inflammation of the fascia tissue stretched from heel to toe— or tendonitis, inflammation of the tendons that run along the bottom of the foot. Foot pain can be debilitating no matter the diagnosis. For some, the pain is severe enough to limit everyday activities.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia supports the arch of the foot and absorbs the shock of walking. When the tension and stress become too much, small tears begin to develop. Frequent stretching and tearing can cause fascia to become irritated and inflamed.
While the level of intensity fluctuates, plantar fasciitis typically causes swelling and sharp pain in the heel. It is frequently most painful in the morning, when taking those first few steps. However, pain can also be experienced after long periods of standing or when getting up after sitting for extended periods of time. While it tends to feel better with activity, the pain is usually worse after exercise.
Plantar Fasciitis Risk Factors
At one-point, doctors thought that heel spurs contributed to the onset. They now believe that heel spurs are the result, not the cause, of plantar fasciitis. While the cause of remains unclear in many cases, here are some factors that can put you at great risk.
- Flat feet or high arches
- Tight Achilles tendons, or "heel cords"
- Walking with an abnormal stride
- Long distance running, ballet and aerobic dancing
- Wearing high-heeled shoes frequently
- Spending many hours standing or walking on hard surfaces
- Wearing worn-out shoes
Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis
Most often doctors can diagnose plantar fasciitis through simple physical examination of the feet. In some cases, an X-ray or MRI is needed to eliminate other possible possibilities such as, arthritis or bone fractures.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatments
Home treatments including ice, rest, tape, shoe inserts, and anti-inflammatory medications can provide some relief. Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis is a condition that often involves chronic re-injury. When foot pain is interfering with everyday activities, it’s time to look at more serious treatments.
Your doctor may discuss a wide variety of treatment options: physical therapy, steroid or cortisone injections, shockwave therapy and surgery. Now there is a new, revolutionary solution for plantar fasciitis, Tenex Health TX ®. This minimally invasive procedure provides major results without open surgery. Requiring only a 3mm microincision, ultrasonic energy precisely targets only the damaged tissue. This substantially reduces the recovery time and the risk of infection. The entire process takes less than 20 minutes and doesn’t even require stitches.
Though Tenex Health TX ® is one of the latest advances in plantar fasciitis treatment, it is just one of many options. If your heel or the bottoms of your feet are disrupting your life, make an appointment with Dr. David N. Garras today. A board-certified orthopedist, Dr. Garras specializes in foot and ankle surgery, and he is one of the first doctors in our area to be trained in this groundbreaking technology.