Heel Pain - Plantar Fascitis
What is plantar fascitis?
Plantar fascitis is one of the most common causes of pain at the bottom of the heel.The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that lies directly beneath the skin on the bottom of your foot. It connects the heel to the front of your foot, and supports the arch of your foot.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the strong band of tissue that supports the arch of your foot becomes irritated and inflamed.
The plantar fascia is designed to absorb the high stresses and strains we place on our feet. But, sometimes, too much pressure damages or tears the tissues. The body's natural response to injury is inflammation, which results in the heel pain and stiffness of plantar fasciitis.Risk FactorsIn most cases, plantar fasciitis develops without a specific, identifiable reason.
What are the risk factors?
There are, however, many factors that can make you more prone to the condition:
Tighter calf muscles that make it difficult to flex your foot and bring your toes up toward your shin
Very high arch
Repetitive impact activity (running/sports)New or increased activity
Although many people with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, spurs are not the cause of plantar fasciitis pain. Only 1 out of 20 people (5%) with heel spurs has foot pain. Because the spur is not the cause of plantar fasciitis, the pain can be treated without removing the spur.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
Pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel
Pain with the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning, or after a long period of rest, such as after a long car ride. The pain subsides after a few minutes of walking.
Greater pain after (not during) exercise or activity.
What are the treatment options?
Most cases of plantar fascitis responds to non-surgical measures with resolution of symtoms within 6 months. The measures include:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
Exercises - stretch heel cord and stretch plantar fascia
Cushioned heel pads
If non-surgical treatment has been tried for atleast 4-6 months with no relief of pain and symptoms, you may be a candidate for surgical intervention. Although the results are good, surgery is not without risks and this needs to be discussed with your surgeon.
The surgical options include, lengthening the heel-cord or plantar fascia release.
Dr Vinod Kumar Abu Dhabi
Sports surgeon Abu Dhabi
Shoulder surgeon Abu Dhabi
NMC Royal Hospital