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All You Need to Know About Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis

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16 Jan, 2024

Heel pain stands as a pervasive condition that affects individuals from various walks of life. Whether it manifests at the side, back, or bottom of the heel, this discomfort can be particularly troublesome for runners. One of the leading causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, a condition linked to the strain and inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament. 
In this article brought to you by Mid Penn Foot & Ankle Specialists, we explore the intricacies of heel pain and plantar fasciitis to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of its causes, symptoms, and potential treatment options. If you’d like to consult with a licensed podiatrist, then call Mid Penn Foot & Ankle Specialists to schedule an appointment today.

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What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a common culprit behind heel pain, and it typically arises from the overuse or repetitive stress on the plantar fascia: a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Runners, athletes, and individuals who spend prolonged periods on their feet are particularly susceptible to this condition.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

As mentioned earlier, overuse is a common factor. Continuous stress on the feet, especially during activities like running, can lead to microtears in the plantar fascia. Over time, this cumulative damage can result in inflammation and pain.
Ill-fitting or unsupportive footwear can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis. Shoes lacking proper arch support or cushioning may exacerbate strain on the ligament. Moreover, abnormal foot mechanics, such as flat feet or high arches, can alter the distribution of weight and contribute to excessive strain on the plantar fascia.
Finally, a tight Achilles tendon can affect the mechanics of the foot and increase stress on the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation and heel pain. Excess body weight places additional strain on the feet and can contribute to the development or exacerbation of plantar fasciitis.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The hallmark symptom of plantar fasciitis is a sharp, stabbing pain at the bottom of the heel. This pain is often most pronounced with the first steps in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest. In some cases, swelling and inflammation may be present in the heel area, contributing to discomfort.
Pain may intensify during activities that involve weight-bearing on the affected foot, such as walking or running, and the heel may be tender to the touch, particularly along the inner side of the heel where the plantar fascia attaches to the bone.

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Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

Avoiding activities that exacerbate the condition is crucial for healing, and resting the affected foot and applying ice can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Gentle stretching as well as wearing supportive footwear are also beneficial in supporting the healing process.
For more severe cases, a foot specialist may recommend custom orthotics, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, or corticosteroid injections. A reliable foot doctor is best equipped to tailor the ideal foot treatment for your particular case.

Consult with a Licensed Podiatrist

A podiatrist is a medical professional also known as a foot doctor. If you would like to consult with a licensed podiatrist, then call Mid Penn Foot & Ankle Specialists and schedule a convenient appointment.

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