Plantar fasciitis (tissues of foot)

Feet | Podiatry - Podiatric Medicine | Plantar fasciitis (tissues of foot) (Disease)


Plantar fasciitis is a common, painful foot condition. Patients, and sometimes doctors often confuse the terms plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Plantar fasciitis refers to the syndrome of inflammation of the band of tissue that runs from the heel along the arch of the foot; a heel spur is a hook of bone that can form on the heel bone (calcaneus).

Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed with the classic symptoms of pain well localized over the heel area of the bottom of the foot. Often the pain from plantar fasciitis is most severe when you first stand on your feet in the morning. Pain often subsides quite quickly, but then returns after prolonged standing or walking.

Causes and Risk factors

Plantar fasciitis is commonly thought of as being caused by a heel spur, however, research has found that this is not the case.

Plantar fasciitis most often affects active men ages 40 - 70. It is one of the most common orthopedic complaints relating to the foot.

On X-ray, heel spurs are seen in people with and without plantar fasciitis. About 70% of patients with plantar fasciitis have been noted to have a heel spur that can be seen on X-Ray.

Plantar fasciitis is sometimes, but not always, associated with a rapid gain of weight. Plantar fasciitis is also sometimes seen in recreational athletes, especially runners. In these athletes, it is thought that the repetitive nature of the sports causes the damage to the fibrous tissue that forms the arch of the foot.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Conservative treatment is usually successful but may require 6-18 months. Initial treatment consists of: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, acetaminophen (Tylenol), heel stretching exercises, night splints, shoe inserts. If these modalities fail a steroid injection, and/or surgery may be recommended. ...

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