Your plantar fascia is a thick ligament on the bottom of your foot that runs from your heel to the front of your foot. Injuries to this ligament are common and often become chronic, making daily tasks and chores unbearable. Damage to this ligament leads to a condition called Plantar Fasciitis, which is painful but treatable. Plantar fascia non-surgical treatment methods should always be the initial treatment plan; however, if Plantar Fasciitis persists, more invasive treatments, such as surgery, may be considered. Learn about your alternatives and options to plantar fascia surgery but always consult with a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
First, how do you get Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is the damage or strain to the plantar fascia ligament of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis can result from actions that cause too much stress on the plantar fascia, sometimes leading to a tear of this ligament. This can cause inflammation, pain, and difficulty in walking. There is a wide range of variables that can create this condition, such as:
- Physical activity: Many weight-bearing movements and exercises can cause irritation and or strain to the plantar fascia, which may increase the chances of damage to this ligament. Untreated, this can lead to Plantar Fasciitis.
- Weight: Those who are overweight are more prone to develop Plantar Fasciitis due to the increased stress on the plantar fascia.
- Mechanics of the foot: Improper weight distribution caused by high arches, flat feet, or irregular gait are associated with Plantar Fasciitis.
- Occupation: Jobs that require being on your feet for long periods of time increase your risk of developing this painful condition. Factory workers, teachers, nurses, and cashiers are examples of those who frequently develop Plantar Fasciitis. Athletes also tend to experience strain or tears on the plantar fascia due to repetitive physical activity.
- Age: People who are 40-60 years old are more likely to damage their plantar fascia.
How do you know if you have Plantar Fasciitis?
The primary symptom of Plantar Fasciitis is a sharp pain in the heel. The pain is often worse upon awakening or after sitting or standing for long periods of time. After moving around, the pain may decrease or dissipate entirely. For people who exercise, many find that they experience sharper pain after exercising rather than during it.
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If you feel that you have symptoms similar to Plantar Fasciitis, it’s crucial that you see a podiatrist for professional diagnosis and a customized treatment plan. Typically, Plantar Fasciitis does not require an invasive diagnostic test. A podiatrist can often make a determination through history and a physical examination that may include checking for tender spots on the bottom of your foot and X-rays. To diagnose your heel pain, visit our podiatrists at Arizona Foot Doctors for diagnosis and a treatment plan.
Does Plantar Fasciitis require surgery?
Does a plantar fascia tear require surgery? In most cases, surgery is not required and noninvasive treatments are directed first. Healing Plantar Fasciitis without surgery is possible! Using a conservative approach is often enough to heal the condition, but it can take several months before the plantar fascia returns to its original functional capability.
How to treat Plantar Fasciitis without surgery
There are a number of options on how to treat plantar fasciitis without surgery, but it’s important that you meet with a podiatrist first to diagnose the condition. After a professional diagnosis, your doctor can collaborate with you on plantar fascia non-surgical treatment options. Common conservative measures include:
- Foot braces: A properly fitted foot brace will keep the plantar fascia in proper alignment and prevent strain. If an ill-fitted foot brace is used, it can cause further damage. When selecting the correct foot brace for you, check with your podiatrist.
- Orthotics: Custom orthotics are prescribed by your podiatrist and personalized to your foot needs. If you have Plantar Fasciitis, a podiatrist may recommend orthotics, which are used to support arches and gait, to alleviate strain on your plantar fascia.
- Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can guide you in developing an exercise plan that allows the plantar fascia to heal and alleviate symptoms. Exercises may mainly focus on stretching and strengthening of the plantar fascia.
- Laser Therapy: Laser therapy directs light to the injured area to induce healing and pain relief. Laser therapy is a non-invasive approach that does not involve surgery.
Depending on the severity of your condition, it may be necessary to combine more than one treatment method to support the damaged ligament. If your Plantar Fasciitis does not improve after noninvasive treatments, your physician may discuss surgical options.
Can you treat Plantar Fasciitis at home?
Some treatments can be done at home to alleviate your symptoms and aid in the healing process.
- Icing the injured area twice a day for 10-20 minutes may reduce inflammation
- Giving your feet proper rest before and after an activity may reduce inflammation and discomfort.
- Properly stretching the plantar fascia will prevent further damage and provide pain relief.
- Refraining from weight bearing exercises will also prevent further damage.
- When needing to be on your feet, wearing shoes with proper arch support and supportive soles will reduce inflammation and provide appropriate, lasting support.
Healing plantar fasciitis without surgery is possible in most cases if the treatment plan given by your podiatrist is followed consistently. These at-home treatment options are designed to alleviate pain during your treatment process.
Plantar Fascia surgery
Plantar fascia non-surgical treatment methods are often successful, and most people recover without the need for surgical treatments. However, if all conservative approaches are exhausted, plantar fascia surgery may be considered.
Get help from caring professionals
At Arizona Foot Doctors, we provide conservative, supportive, and compassionate care to our patients. Your wellbeing is our number one priority. Contact our office today at (480) 661-7572 to schedule an appointment and create a treatment plan for you and your family.