The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your feet, reaching from your heels to your toes. Its primary responsibilities are to act as a shock absorber and to support your arches, which then allows you to walk, run, and jump.

When you place too much strain on the tissue, it creates small tears, which then leads to inflammation and pain. You’ll find the pain worsens in the morning since the tissue tightens overnight, meaning you’ll need to stretch and relax it when you get up. If your condition is bad enough, though, it may not stretch, leading to heel pain that lasts throughout the day.

At the Jamesburg, New Jersey office of Monroe Foot & Ankle Care, Dr. Elliott Perel and his staff have state-of-the-art solutions for their patients suffering from plantar fasciitis. Here’s what they want you to understand about the condition.

Causes of and risk factors for plantar fasciitis

Though there’s no consensus about what specifically causes plantar fasciitis, it most likely results from overexerting the tissue, trauma, poor foot alignment, and/or shoes that don’t fit well.

You’re at increased risk of plantar fasciitis if you:

  • Are female
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Are pregnant
  • Are 40-70 years old
  • Have flat feet or high arches
  • Have tight Achilles tendons
  • Hyperpronate (ankle turns inward, rest of foot turns outward)
  • Are active in running or ballet
  • Often wear high heels
  • Spend a lot of time standing
  • Stand on hard surfaces a lot
  • Wear shoes without arch support
  • Wear shoes with thin soles

If left untreated, complications include not only pain and discomfort that prevent you from staying active, but also knee, foot, hip, or back problems.

Diagnosing plantar fasciitis

When you come into our office, Dr. Perel performs a physical exam to check for redness, swelling, or tenderness in your foot and to pinpoint the exact location of your pain. This is important to rule out any other foot problem that might cause these same symptoms. He may also ask you to flex your foot while pushing on the plantar fascia to see if the pain gets worse as you flex and better as you point your toe, which is what’s expected if you have the condition.

In addition, Dr. Perel evaluates your muscle strength and nerve function by checking your:

  • Balance
  • Reflexes
  • Muscle tone
  • Senses of touch and sight
  • Coordination

All these can indicate another underlying muscle or nerve problem.

An X-ray or an MRI scan may be necessary to verify that nothing else, such as a bone fracture, is causing your heel pain.

Treating plantar fasciitis

Here at Monroe Foot & Ankle Care, we offer a number of different treatment options ranging from the conservative to cutting-edge, including:

  • Icing
  • Rest
  • OTC anti-inflammatory medications
  • Cortisone injections
  • Physical therapy
  • MLS laser therapy
  • Regenerative medicine (stem cell and PRP injections)
  • Custom orthotics and functional orthoses
  • Night splints
  • Surgery (only in severe, chronic cases)

Having proper arch and heel support is a major factor in relieving pain from plantar fasciitis. Dr. Perel uses a computerized scan to create custom orthotics that control hyperpronation, the roll of the ankle inward and the shift in weight balance that’s at the heart of plantar fasciitis.

If you’re having pain running from heel to toe, you may be dealing with plantar fasciitis. Give Monroe Foot & Ankle Care a call at 732-328-6798 to set up a consultation with Dr. Perel, or book your appointment online today.

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