If you are experiencing heel pain, chances are you may have plantar fascia. Does your pain usually start as you take your first steps in the morning, get better throughout the day with more movement, but return with prolonged standing or when you get up from sitting? The plantar fasciitis is a thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone and your toes. If you are having stabbing pains in your heel, the source of your pain may be an inflamed plantar fasciitis.

Also referred to as Policeman’s heel, plantar fascia is the most common source of heel pain. Inflammation of the plantar fasciitis is common amongst runners and can occur in overweight people or those who wear shoes with weak support. So possibly, after eating lots of donuts, policemen were constantly running after criminals in bad shoes? Sounds like a fair guess as to how this condition was commonly referred to as Policeman’s heel. And in fact, the phrase does come from the dated notion of policemen spending lots of time “walking the beat.”

Exactly what causes plantar fascia is not entirely understood, but it is most likely from small tears in the band of tissue. Whenever we walk, the plantar fascia stretches with our foot’s changing shape as it hits the ground. Repetitive straining activity, or the way you walk, or anything that adds pressure (such as your weight) could be weakening the plantar fascia and be leading to your pain. The doctors at Physician Partners of America will use their expertise and training to help figure out what is the most probable source for your condition and come up with a treatment plan.

What can I do to help Plantar Fascia?

Well first, you need to know you have Plantar Fascia and have a team to support your recovery. Your Physician Partners of America podiatrist will perform an exam and ask about your health, pain, and activities. In some cases but not most, the doctor may order X-Rays to eliminate alternative possibilities like a stress fracture, which would require a different course of treatment. However, after your doctor identifies Plantar Fascia as the source of your pain, he/she may recommend a few treatments depending on the severity.

In short, there is no simple trick that works for everyone. Depending on your unique case, the doctor may make recommendations like resting the injury, stretching to build flexibility and strength, or switching to more supportive footwear. Based on your information, your treatment plan will be designed specifically to address whatever our doctors think is the culprit for your pain. Additionally, if these simple lifestyle changes do not work, your physician will continue help you find relief through other methods like steroid injections. Plantar fasciitis occurs over time and in turn, takes time to heal. Healing may take a few weeks, a few months, or even a year. It is important to stick with and seek treatment early to give your body the best chance at preventing lifelong pain from the injury.

Most cases do not require surgery. However, if severe, and the pain lasts 6-12 months while limiting your ability to do your daily activities, surgery becomes an option. The surgical procedure most commonly used is plantar fascia release. Your surgeon cuts a portion of the plantar fascia ligament to relieve pressure on the Plantar Fasciitis. Once the tension is relieved, the inflammation should go down and the pain should dissipate.

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