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Specializing in Treating Plantar Fasciitis

Awarding-Winning Orthopedic Services in Orange County

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs from the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is more common in runners, likely because it is most commonly caused by a strain injury which causes micro tears to the ligament as it attaches to the heel bone. Patients often describe a stabbing or shooting pain in the heel as the initial symptoms. This foot pain generally starts from your first steps after getting out of bed in the morning, and although it decreases after walking around, the pain often returns after long periods of sitting down or standing.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Patients with Plantar Fasciitis often describe a feeling of pain in their heel from their initial steps of the day. The main symptoms include: heel pain, foot pain, stiffness and tenderness. The plantar fascia absorbs shock as you walk, and excess tension and stress on this muscle can irritate or inflame it, leading to small tears.

The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel
  • Pain with the first few steps of the day
  • Pain after long periods of standing or when you stand up after a long period of rest
  • Greater heel or foot pain after exercise or activity (but not during)

People of all ages can experience these problems, but plantar fasciitis is common among:

  • Older individuals
  • Athletes that do long-distance running or high impact sports and training,
  • Occupations that keep you on your feet
  • Those with excess weight gain
  • People who wear shoes with inadequate arch support

How is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?

Your foot doctor or podiatrist will conduct a physical examination of your foot and if you have a high arch and tenderness on the bottom of your foot near the heel bone with limited flexion of the foot. Typically, diagnostic tests such as X-rays and MRI’s are not required to properly diagnose plantar fasciitis.

Nonsurgical Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

Plantar fasciitis can be treated over time without the need for imaging or surgery including:

  • Rest and icing the painful area
  • Making adjustments to your footwear: Wearing shoes with a stiff bottom and supportive arch, (no worn-out athletic shoes!)
  • Custom orthotics
  • Physical Therapy and stretching
  • A cortisone-type of steroid injection into the heel (Response to these injections varies)
  • Tylenol or anti-inflammatory medications (e.g., Ibuprofen)
  • A night splint that supports the arch of your foot while you are sleeping
  • Changing your sport from high impact to low impact such as swimming or bicycling

Symptoms from plantar fasciitis can take up to six months to subside with consistent non-surgical treatment.

Surgical Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

If conservative measures are not working after 12 months or longer, you may have chronic plantar fasciitis. Few people will need surgery to relieve their symptoms, but if your foot surgeon or podiatrist does recommend Plantar fascia release, this procedure involves detaching the plantar fascia ligament from the bone to release tension and relieve inflammation of the ligament. If you have a large bone spur, it will also be removed during the procedure. It can be done as an open surgery or by inserting instruments through small incisions (endoscopic surgery) with local anesthesia. While this procedure can be done endoscopically, it can be more difficult than with the open incision technique and can have a higher risk of nerve damage.

Very few people need surgery for their plantar fasciitis, but it’s important to seek treatment if you’re experiencing pain in your heel so you can develop the best course of treatment with your doctor.

Find a Foot Doctor or Podiatrist

Treating plantar fasciitis and finding a treatment program that gets you back on your feet and fully active, begins with seeking attention from top foot surgeons and podiatrist who prioritize the health and unique goals of patients. At Hoag Orthopedic Institute, we are dedicated to providing sound orthopedic care and comprehensive patient-focused services in state-of-the-art facilities.

To learn more about how we can treat your foot pain call (949) 705-6493 or find a foot specialist using our online physician directory.

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