The definition of Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue at the bottom of the heel. (Picture 1. Anatomy of the foot) This thick band of tissue is a weblike ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. It works as a shock absorber to protect the arch of our feet as we walk and are in motion. Many of us experience plantar fasciitis during our lifetime, but there are some factors that can put an individual at greater risk such as gender, age, weight, activity level or an active job where you are on your feet, other foot conditions, structural foot issues and deformities (such as flat feet or high arches), poor biomechanics and inappropriate shoe wear. Initially, plantar fasciitis begins with a dull pain around the heel area and can worsen throughout the day. If an individual experiencing plantar fasciitis leaves this condition untreated, it can hinder the patient’s activities of daily living.
Treatment: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach
Plantar fasciitis is not only a pain in our heels, it is one of the most common orthopedic complaints. Various methods of treatment have been shown to better manage the pain for individuals diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Non-invasive methods of treatment include a combination of one or more of the following: physical therapy, regular stretching of the lower legs and feet, custom foot orthotics, and wearing proper footwear. The healing process for any injury at the foot is slow going, but patients who are compliant with their treatment plan usually show improvement.
An Orthotic Approach
The main goal of custom foot orthotics for patients are to provide support in the arches of the foot along with re-distributing the weight evenly throughout the feet. As previously mentioned, patients with other foot deformities or conditions are at a higher risk for experiencing plantar fasciitis. Some of these deformities and conditions can be accommodated, and even corrected, with custom foot orthotics.
A night-splint can also be used in conjunction with the custom foot orthotics. (Picture 2. Night-splint) The night-splint device is applied on the patient’s leg to statically stretch the calf and foot muscles during sleep.
Other treatment methods include icing the area, use of a pain reliever such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), and injections. Speak with your doctor before taking any medications. If you are someone who struggles with pain from plantar fasciitis and would like a consultation, contact Tillges for a complimentary consultation today at 651-772-2665.
- Stephen Albert and Wayne Decker "Contemporary Pedorthics", 1st Edition, 2002
- Google images 2023