Is heel pain there to meet you every morning when you get out of bed? Odds are likely that you have plantar fasciitis!
Many people come to see us for heel pain. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent conditions we treat here, and we could be seeing even more people for this problem as well. About 1 in 10 people suffers from heel pain, and plantar fasciitis is one of the top culprits.
Fortunately, we can help almost everyone who has plantar fasciitis eliminate the problem, or at the very least find significant relief.
To address plantar fasciitis, however, it’s important to understand its root causes.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
There are several parts of your foot that can produce heel pain when injured, but plantar fasciitis focuses on a thick, fibrous band of tissue called the plantar fascia. This band runs along the arch of the foot, from your heel bone to the base of your toes.
The plantar fascia is always flexing as we walk, storing and releasing energy that helps us move. However, if something over-strains the band, it can develop small, painful tears and inflammation, which results in pain along the underside of the heel. This is plantar fasciitis.
So why would the pain feel worst in the morning? When at rest, the plantar fascia will “cool down” and contract. Getting back into motion forces it to stretch again, making things especially painful until it has had a few moments to “warm up.” This can also happen after extended periods of sitting, standing, or otherwise not moving.
But just knowing you have plantar fasciitis is not enough. We also need to determine the underlying causes of the problem.
Plantar fasciitis is often classified as an overuse injury, meaning that excessive force and strain is being placed against the plantar fascia. This can be caused in a few different ways:
- Repetitive impacts against the plantar fascia without providing enough time for recovery (e.g. constant long-distance running or sports without enough “rest days”).
- Having to stand or stoop for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
- An abnormality in foot structure, such as flat feet, which shifts too much weight on the plantar fascia.
- Wearing worn down or improper shoes that don’t properly support your foot.
Other factors can also be at play, and more than one factor can contribute. That’s why it is always worth having a thorough, professional examination. Then, the best recommendations can be made for treatment.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Most cases of plantar fasciitis can be treated with non-surgical methods. A treatment plan might include one or more of the following:
- Rest/reduction in activity
- Applying ice to the area
- Changes to more supportive footwear
- Changes in activity levels or exercise routines
- The use of custom orthotics to shift excess weight away from the plantar fascia
- Night splints to extend the plantar fascia overnight and reduce morning heel pain
- OTC anti-inflammatory medications
- Stretches or exercises to better condition the plantar fascia and what it connects to
- MLS laser therapy to reduce pain and accelerate soft tissue healing
In rarer cases, if more conservative methods don’t have a substantial effect in providing relief, we might consider surgery. This might include a minor surgical implant of HyProCure stents, or release of the plantar fascia, among other potential procedures. If surgery does become an option, we will fully discuss all options and what you need to know to make the most informed decision going forward.
Get the Heel Pain Help You Need Now!
If you have had heel pain a while, odds are very unlikely it will go away on its own without intervention. We can help you find the route to relief and help prevent worse problems in the future.
Call either of our offices to schedule an appointment with us. We’re happy to help!
- Enid – (580) 237-3338
- Okalhoma City – (405) 947-8041