Main with Plantar Fasciitis pain during a run

Plantar Fasciitis

Ever stepped on a LEGO? Plantar fasciitis causes a stabbing pain in your plantar fascia ligament, which can make your every step feel like you’re walking heel-first on a plastic brick! Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that affects up to 1 million patients annually in the United States. Fortunately, there are many solutions to plantar fascia pain!

Illustration of healthy foot versus foot with plantar fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia ligament is a thick band of tissues between your heel and toes. People can get an inflamed plantar fascia from an injury, or more commonly simple overuse. We see this especially among people who have recently increased their activity level (perhaps a little too quickly).

Your plantar fascia gets quite a workout. It has to absorb shocks and support your arch with every single step. You’ll probably never even remember it’s there most days, until it starts hurting. Then, it’s nearly impossible to forget!

Plantar fasciitis causes both inflammation and stiffness near the heel. This is usually worst in the morning, and can subside as the day goes on. You may feel like they need a podiatry appointment after their first steps in the morning, but then forget about making one later in the day. If your first steps after sleep or sitting down are painful, you are not fully healed and should be seen!

The good news is that plantar fasciitis is quite treatable! A 2018 study showed 90% of cases resolving with conservative treatment within 12 months. We have a range of treatment options to help fix plantar fasciitis–from the mild and temporary to the long-lasting and severe.

Dr. Bradley Gipson, DPM and Dr. Cole Hosenfeld, DC, DACBSP discuss some of the treatment options for plantar fasciitis.

Risk Factors

Anyone can develop plantar fasciitis at any age, but there are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing the condition.

  • Being overweight (causing more stress on the feet)
  • High-impact sports that put stress on your feet and heels (running, dancing)
  • Jobs that require you to be on your feet for long amounts of time
  • Footwear that does not give you adequate support
  • Foot structure issues such as flat feet or very high arches

Traditional Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

Traditional "tennis ball roll" stretch for plantar fasciitis.

Stretching, Icing and Rest

If it’s your first time experiencing pain from plantar fasciitis, we generally start with a conservative treatment approach. Simple icing and stretching is often effective if the problem is caught early enough. We’ll also take a look at other factors such as footwear and activity level to try to find and address the root cause of the plantar fasciitis.

Custom orthotic being made. Custom insoles can help prevent plantar fasciitis.

Insoles and Custom Orthotics

Even high-quality shoes often come with the cheapest, flimsiest insoles. If you’re dealing with pain from plantar fasciitis (or Achilles Tendinits), high-quality or custom insoles can help relieve stress on your arch and provide the support you need to recover from plantar fasciitis pain.

We carry high-quality insoles from PowerStep, and are also able to order custom-fit orthotics for the best possible comfort and support tailor-made for you.

Graphic showing the chemical makeup of cortisone, a steroid injection we use to treat plantar fasciitis.

Steroid (Cortisone) Injections

If stretching, icing and good shoes don’t make the pain go away, we can use steroid injections of cortisone to help reduce inflammation in the plantar fascia ligament. This helps reduce pain and break the inflammatory cycle in your foot.

Each treatment is done in-office and take just a few minutes. The injection site is usually numb for several hours after the treatment. Some patients report temporary heel pain for a day or two after the injection.

Within three to five days, most patients start to feel the pain relief from the steroid injection really kicking in. The cortisone injection will continue doing its anti-inflammatory work for a period of several weeks.

Patients can resume foot stretches almost immediately after a steroid injection. Any high-impact exercises or extended time on your feet should be avoided for several days. Just because the pain is temporarily blocked doesn’t mean the problem is gone just yet!

 

Regenerative Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

PRP Being Loaded into Centrifuge

Until relatively recently, the next option after trying steroid injections was plantar fascia surgery. There are two main types of surgery to address plantar fasciitis: a plantar fasciotomy (detaching the ligament from the heel bone) and a plantar fasciectomy (removal of scar tissue).

Recovery times vary by the type and method of surgery, but generally range from 6-12 weeks. Surgeries are generally successful, but are also invasive and expensive (over $10,000 in some cases).

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) gives us an additional option to help the plantar fascia heal before resorting to surgery.

In a PRP procedure, we draw your blood and spin it in a centrifuge. This causes the blood platelets to concentrate at the top of the vial (the golden-yellow liquid in the picture above).

Blood platelets contain growth factors, which help to repair damaged tissue in the body.

In addition to PRP, we can also use stem cell therapy to treat plantar fasciitis.

Learn More, Get Seen, Get Better

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