Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain

An estimated 2 million Americans are treated for plantar fasciitis every year. It’s a common foot condition, but it’s also one of the top causes of heel pain among adults of all ages.

The plantar fascia is a strong band of fibrous tissue that runs from your heel to your toes on the bottom of your foot. Its job is to support the arch of your foot and absorb shock with each step, but irritation or damage can create inflammation.

When your plantar fascia gets inflamed, it’s called plantar fasciitis. The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain — particularly in your heel — but it can also trigger swelling, stiffness, and tenderness.

Plantar fasciitis and heel pain can quickly make enjoying your favorite activities impossible, but it doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks. Lisa Burson, DPM and Joe Aoun, DPM at The Foot & Ankle Specialists specialize in diagnosing and treating heel pain.

Signs of plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis often causes heel pain, because the plantar fascia ends at your heel bone (calcaneus). Plantar fasciitis might be responsible for your heel pain if…

Your first steps are painful in the morning

Sharp pain when you get out of bed and take your first steps in the morning is a tell-tale sign that you could have plantar fasciitis. Inflammation makes the plantar fascia stiffen with rest, causing heel pain when you start using your foot again.

The pain may dissipate as you continue walking and your plantar fascia stretches out. However, sitting or standing for long periods of time can make the pain return when you start walking again.

You’re an avid runner

Plantar fasciitis is common among runners. Running is stressful for your heel and the surrounding tissues, and that stress increases your risk of injury. If you have plantar fasciitis, you might not notice pain while you’re running, but it develops once your workout is over.

Along with running, dancing, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and other activities that require jumping can strain the plantar fascia and cause heel pain.

You have abnormal arches

Your plantar fascia supports your arch, so having flat feet or high arches can increase your risk of heel pain and plantar fasciitis. These abnormalities change the way your foot bears weight, and it’s possible that they put increased stress on your plantar fascia.

Even if you have a normal arch, wearing flat shoes or footwear without proper arch support can change your foot mechanics and cause heel pain.

Finding relief from heel pain

The most common indicator of plantar fasciitis is heel pain, but many other possible causes could be behind your discomfort. A few other possible causes of heel pain include bruising, stress fracture, bursitis, and Achilles tendonitis.

When you visit The Foot & Ankle Specialists for your heel pain, Dr. Lisa Burson and Dr. Joe Aoun perform a thorough exam to diagnose your condition. We evaluate inflammation and range of motion, and we may recommend X-rays to rule out the possibility of a stress fracture.

Our team is proud to offer a wide range of conservative treatment options to manage your heel pain and heal your foot. Most of the time, plantar fasciitis improves with at-home care measures such as rest and icing, along with anti-inflammatory medication.

Physical therapy and specialized exercises can build strength in the foot to prevent future injury, while shoe inserts or custom orthotics can improve foot mechanics to take stress from your plantar fascia and minimize pain. 

Get answers to what’s causing your heel pain. Call the office nearest you, or request a consultation online today.

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