Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia or plantar aponeurosis. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of tissue that extends from the heel bone to the toes. The purpose of this tissue is to help support your arch and as a shock absorber or spring board when you walk or run.
The Plantar Fascia is made up of 3 specific areas. The medial or inner, the lateral or outer, and the larger central portion. Most of the injuries and symptoms are associated with the central plantar fascia.
Typically the injury to the plantar fascia occurs as it inserts into the bottom or plantar aspect of the heel bone. Symptoms can be very acute as in a tear, or can be gradual without you having any symptoms. The causes of plantar fasciitis are many. Many cases involve a biomechanical etiology, such as flat feet, limb length discrepancy, poor shoe gear or excessive activity. Medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms usually occur in the morning when you get out of bed, or after prolonged sitting. This is because of a tightening of the inflamed tissue and sudden stretching when standing. The symptoms usually improve after several minutes but reoccur after prolonged resting. In more severe cases the pain is chronic and occurs with or without weightbearing. Patients cannot stand on their toes secondary to pain. A palpable pain occurs at the site of the inflammation in and around the inside or medial aspect of the heel or calcaneus.
Conservative treatment for plantar fasciitis involves reducing the strain on the plantar fascia when ambulation. This can be achieved a number of ways. Changing shoe gear with a supportive arch and heel counter helps stabilize the foot. An orthotic device to improve shock absorption and reduce the strain on the arch of the foot. Reduce weight of overweight and control blood sugar if diabetic. Avoid going barefoot on hard surfaces will help prevent further damage. Utilization of a plantar fascia night splint helps prevent the plantar fascia from contracting at night. In more chronic situations, a cortisone injection into the affected area can improve the condition. Therapy can help, including ultrasound and electrotherapy.
Surgery is necessary is a very small number of cases that do not respond to conservative care. New treatments have appeared over the last several years including Extracorporeal shockwave therapy and Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy. These procedures reduce recovery period and improve patient outcomes by limiting the affects of surgery and long recoveries.
Whatever course of treatment your doctor recommends, The Brace Shop has many years of experience in dealing with Plantar Fasciitis and has a wide range of orthopedic devices that can assist in your recovery. Plantar Fascia Night Splints, Dorsal Night Splints, Walking Boots and Plantar Fascia straps are just some of the hundreds of products available at The Brace Shop.