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  • Writer's pictureJames Oliver

Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)

Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of each foot and connects the heel bone to the toes, known as the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that often occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you get up and move, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting.The cause of plantar fasciitis is multifactorial, but most cases is the result from overuse. The classic presentation is of sharp localised pain at the heel.

Treatment and Management

Guided by the pain level, administer relative rest from the offending activity as the first-line treatment. Ice after activity, as well as oral or topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can help alleviate pain. Results from studies show that deep friction massage of the arch and insertion, along with the prescription of shoe inserts or orthotics and night splints, can offer benefits.

If the pain does not respond to conservative measures, then more advanced techniques maybe required such as extracorporeal shock-wave therapy or steroid injection.The more advanced and invasive techniques should be combined with conservative therapies. Surgery should be the last option if this process has become chronic and other less invasive therapies have failed. A minimum of 6 weeks is required for the therapy, regardless of the selected treatment.

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