What Causes Plantar Fasciitis and How We Treat It

Dec 11, 2022
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis and How We Treat It
Do you have persistent heel pain? You might have a condition called plantar fasciitis. Learn more about it and how we treat it here.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes heel pain. It’s common among athletes, older people, and those who spend a lot of time on their feet or frequently walk on hard surfaces. Knowing what causes plantar fasciitis is essential to understand how to treat and manage it. 

Our team of podiatry specialists at Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery in Burbank, Santa Clarita, and Northridge, California, has a wealth of experience treating and managing plantar fasciitis. 

Learn more about what causes the condition and treatment options here. 

What is plantar fasciitis? 

The plantar fascia is a ligament that runs from your heel to your toe. When this ligament becomes inflamed, it causes a condition known as plantar fasciitis, which can be very painful. This pain can feel like a throbbing ache or a stabbing pain. 

Your plantar fascia is supposed to absorb pressure when you walk. It also supports your weight. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain in your heel. Some research shows that around 1 in 10 people will develop it in their lifetime. 

Symptoms of the condition include: 

  • Heel pain 
  • Pain in the arch of your foot 
  • Swelling in your foot 
  • A recurring pain that lasts for months 
  • Pain after exercise 
  • Pain that worsens when you walk or stand 

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Putting too much pressure on your feet, especially your plantar fascia, is the leading cause of plantar fasciitis. Jobs that keep you on your feet or require walking on a hard surface can often cause plantar fasciitis. 

Certain people are also at a higher risk of developing the condition than others. They include those who: 

  • Are obese 
  • Have flat feet or unusually high arches 
  • Wear shoes that don’t provide proper support 
  • Exercise without stretching first 
  • Stand for a prolonged amount of time on a hard surface 

How is plantar fasciitis treated? 

You can manage plantar fasciitis at home if it’s not severe. The following techniques can help you manage your pain: 

  • Icing your heel 3-4 times a day
  • Massaging the painful area 
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen 
  • Limiting physical activity until you stop feeling pain 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight, which takes the pressure off your plantar fascia 
  • Wearing shoes that give your feet proper support 

If your pain persists, you should see a medical professional for treatment. Surgery might need to be considered in severe cases to treat plantar fasciitis effectively. However, several nonsurgical options can effectively treat this condition. 

Surgical treatment

Surgical treatment for plantar fasciitis could either be by plantar fascia release or gastrocnemius recession. 

Plantar fascia release involves partially cutting your plantar fascia to relieve some of the tension that’s causing your pain. It’s a minimally invasive surgery done under general or regional anesthesia. 

Tight calf muscles can sometimes cause pain in your plantar fascia. A gastrocnemius recession helps to lengthen your calf muscle and relieve some of the tension on your plantar fascia. 

Nonsurgical treatment

Steroid injections to the areas where you feel pain can provide temporary pain relief. However, it’s typically not recommended to receive multiple shots, because they can ultimately weaken your plantar fascia and cause it to rupture. 

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is an effective, non-invasive procedure for treating plantar fasciitis. It involves passing shock waves through your heel to soothe your inflamed plantar fascia and promote healing. 

Here at the Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery, we have the facilities to carry out nonsurgical treatments to relieve pain for those with plantar fasciitis. To learn more about your treatment options and what will work best for you, schedule a consultation at our office most convenient to you by calling us at 818-848-5588 or requesting an appointment online today.