Do you have shooting, stabbing heel pain that always hurts the worst when you take your first step out of bed in the morning?
If so, there’s a pretty good chance you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis. It’s the most common cause of heel pain for American adults, and one of our most frequently treated conditions at the Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists of Arizona.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Your arches are supported in part by a thick band of tissue known as the plantar fascia. This is a thick, tough band of connective tissue that crosses your entire sole, connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes. The plantar fascia is an important part of your foot’s “shock absorption” system, flexing gently to cushion each step.
Plantar fasciitis is the result of inflammation, overstretching, or tearing in the plantar fascia. This typically occurs right near the underside of the heel, where the plantar fascia connects to the heel bone.
What Are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
We already mentioned the “classic” symptom—heel pain that spikes when you get out of bed in the morning. There’s nothing special about sleep, though, as rising after any lengthy rest period (sitting to watch a movie, for example) can trigger the pain.
In addition, pain may develop after a period of exercise or activity, though usually not during the activity itself.
It’s important to note that, while plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, there are many other conditions that produce similar symptoms. A professional evaluation will be necessary to confirm your diagnosis.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis most often results from overuse, rather than any single traumatic injury. When weight and pressure on the arch is frequently intense, over an extended period of time, the tissue becomes fatigued and small tears develop.
Factors that can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis include:
- Engaging in high-impact hobbies like running, dancing, and certain sports.
- Occupations or hobbies that keep you on your feet most of the day.
- Issues with your foot mechanics or gait, such as flat feet or overpronation.
- Wearing unsupportive or ill-fitting footwear.
- Being overweight or obese.
How Is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?
Plantar fasciitis can usually be treated conservatively, using a combination of treatment options. The best protocols depend on the underlying causes of your pain, your age, your lifestyle, and other factors.
Treatment recommendations may include:
- Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)
- Pain relievers (oral medications, steroid injections)
- Improved footwear
- Custom orthotics
- Physical therapy
- Night splints
- Shockwave therapy
- Laser therapy
- Lifestyle modifications
The word “Advanced” in our name isn’t just a buzzword—our specialists pride themselves on offering the highest quality care and the most cutting-edge treatment options to help you get better. If your heels are hurting—due to plantar fasciitis or any other reason—no one is more equipped to help you get better quickly.To schedule an appointment with the Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists in either Gilbert or Chandler, please call (480) 963-9000 today.