Heel Pain from Plantar Fasciitis and How to Treat It

Heel Pain from Plantar Fasciitis and How to Treat It

Hi, I’m Dr. Zimmerman. I’m a foot and ankle specialist here to talk to you about plantar fasciitis today (also known as heel pain).

Plantar fasciitis or heel pain is generally pain in the bottom or the plantar side of the person’s foot. Typically patients have sharp shooting pain, generally worse in the morning or right after walking, in the bottom of their foot.

On the bottom of your foot there’s a plantar fascia, which is a fibrous band that goes from your toes back to your heel. A lot of time people have pain in this portion of their heel associated with plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis generally is treated with conservative treatment, which can consist of:

1. Stretching
2. Icing
3. Appropriate shoe gear
4. Shoe inserts
5. Anti-inflammatories

When the patient is still having pain in that area, sometimes an injection into the area can also help. Generally if we continue to have pain and conservative treatment is not working, we move on to potentially doing an MRI or an ultrasound of the band. Depending on what that shows sometimes surgery is indicated. Surgery would potentially be indicated for a thick band that has not been improved with conservative treatment, and a lot of times the treatment for that is actually releasing the plantar fascia, similar to a carpal tunnel surgery.

Patients many times have heard that plantar fasciitis has also been referred to as heel spur syndrome. Patients get an x-ray and see on the bottom of their heel, they may see a spur. Through research and time we have learned that the heel spur itself is actually not the cause of the pain, but rather the plantar fascia, and that’s why an important aspect of the whole treatment plan is stretching and wearing appropriate shoes.

If this is something you’ve been experiencing and your pain is not getting any better I do recommend seeing a foot and ankle specialist.

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