When you start to notice that your first steps in the morning will bring on stabbing heel pain, you may be dealing with plantar fasciitis. This is a condition prevalent in runners where the plantar fascia, which is the tissue connecting the toes and heel, gets inflamed. The state may go away with the right treatment throughout the course of a few months, but you may want to see a podiatrist for plantar fasciitis if you’re going want to try to speed up recovery or to rule out other injuries.
When you meet with your podiatrist, your foot will be examined to pinpoint the source of the pain. This examination, along with medical history, will help your podiatrist with the diagnosis. There may also be imaging tests required to rule out other conditions like a pinched nerve or broken bone.
Your podiatrist might have a few options for reducing inflammation or easing the pain in your foot, including more than one therapy used in unison. Such options may include:
Medications – NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can help to cut down on inflammation and pain.
Steroid Injections – When you have severe pain or the NSAIDs are not helping, steroid injections might be the answer. These injections target the most painful areas of the plantar fascia and help to ease foot pain for approximately a month while the inflammation will subside for even longer.
Physical Therapy – When rest, ice, and medication is not helping, your podiatrist might recommend physical therapy. This is where you will learn exercises to strengthen and stretch the lower leg muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia. Other treatments may include ultrasonography, contrast baths or massage to help with healing over the long-term.
Surgery – With surgical intervention, the plantar fascia is removed from the heel bone. This procedure is usually left as a last resort for patients who have a stubborn injury or severe pain that other treatments are not helping. Your podiatrist may require you to wear a boot or splint for a specific period and that you do not put weight on your foot during the healing time.