Plantar Fasciitis | Jacksonville Sport & Spine

Plantar Fasciitis

Undersurface Heel Pain Causes and Treatment

The plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. It runs along the sole of the foot like a fan, being attached at its other end to the base of each of the toes. It is a tough, resilient structure that has a number of critical functions during running and walking, such as:

Stabilizing the metatarsal joints during impact with the ground
Acting as a shock absorber for the entire leg
Helping to lift the arch to prepare it for the ‘take-off’ phase of the gait cycle

The plantar fascia is a sturdy structure, but the degree of stress that it takes makes it susceptible to injury. A force equal to almost three times your body weight passes through the foot with each step. When running, this typically happens about 90 times a minute.

Plantar fasciitis is thought to be a traction and overuse injury. Damage to the plantar fascia is usually in the form of micro-tears. It is a degenerative disease rather than an inflammatory process. Damage tends to occur near the heel, where stress on the fibers is greatest, and where the fascia is the thinnest. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain, and can occur in one foot or both feet.

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

Most people with plantar fasciitis experience pain in the bottom of their foot or heel when they first get out of bed in the morning or after sitting for a long time. The stiffness and pain may lessen after you take a few steps, but may increase as the day goes on. The pain may also intensify when you climb stairs or stand for an extended periods of time.

Risk Factors

Middle-aged people, as well as those who are on their feet for extended periods, are more likely to suffer from plantar fasciitis. Activities that involve some degree of running and jumping, such as basketball, tennis, step aerobics, and dancing may also increase your chances of sustaining this type of injury.

Additional risk factors include:

Running on hard ground or hill training
Flat feet (pes planus) or high arches (pes cavus)
Pregnancy (temporary due to weight gain)
Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly or are worn out
Tight calf muscles or Achilles tendons

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

The physicians at Jacksonville Sport & Spine are experts in treating plantar fasciitis. Depending on the extent and duration of your condition, we may suggest a combination of treatments to help reduce pain and improve your mobility, including:

Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medication
Ice therapy
Home stretching exercises
Physical therapy
Shock wave therapy
Orthotics (cushions or custom-fitted arch supports)

If you are suffering from heel pain, don’t wait too long; if left untreated, plantar fasciitis can actually lead to additional foot, knee, hip and back problems, which can change the way you walk and restrict your level of activity. Stop living in pain. Contact us today and schedule an evaluation.