Understanding Plantar Fasciitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

May 4, 2023

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that affects millions of people worldwide, and it is one of the most common causes of heel pain. At Richmond Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates in Richmond, VA, we understand that plantar fasciitis can be painful and debilitating, so we want to help you understand its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs when this tissue becomes inflamed or irritated, usually due to overuse, injury, or underlying conditions like flat feet or high arches.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Several factors can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis, including:

  • Overuse: Repetitive strain on the plantar fascia can cause tiny tears in the tissue, leading to inflammation and pain.
  • Foot structure: People with flat feet or high arches are at a higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis because of the added stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Tight calf muscles: Tight calf muscles can pull on the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation and pain.
  • Age: Plantar fasciitis is more common in people over 40.
  • Obesity: Excess weight stresses the plantar fascia, increasing the risk of inflammation and pain.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain, which is usually worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity. The pain may also be more severe after prolonged periods of standing or walking. Some people may also experience swelling and redness in the affected area.

Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

Treatment for plantar fasciitis usually involves a combination of self-care measures, physical therapy, and medication. Here are some of the most common treatment options:

  • Rest: Resting the affected foot can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Stretching: Stretching exercises can help improve flexibility and reduce tension in the plantar fascia and calf muscles.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help improve strength and flexibility in the foot and ankle, reducing the risk of further injury.
  • Orthotics: Wearing custom-made shoe inserts (orthotics) can help support and cushion the foot, reducing stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or naproxen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged tissue or repair the plantar fascia.

If you are experiencing heel pain or other symptoms of plantar fasciitis, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent further injury. At Richmond Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates in Richmond, VA, our team of podiatrists has years of experience treating plantar fasciitis and other foot conditions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our treatment options.