By Abbey M. Barnhart, PA-C
“Plantar Fasciitis”, words that cause many people to wince; the reason being it is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is connective tissue in the foot that connects the heel (calcaneus) to the front of the foot. It plays a role in supporting the arch of the foot.
People commonly call any pain coming from the bottom of the heel “plantar fasciitis”, which translates to inflammation of the plantar fascia, but this can be misleading as there may be a tear and/or heel pad atrophy present. To make matters even more complicated, there are some nearby structures that can also mimic plantar fascia pain; these include the origin of the abductor hallucis and an entrapment of a branch of the lateral plantar nerve.
When a person starts having heel pain, without mechanism of injury, it is reasonable to do some treatments at home such as icing, stretching, taking oral anti-inflammatories (i.e ibuprofen, aleve), arch supports, no bare feet. If symptoms do not resolve within 1-2 weeks, it is important for the individual to seek medical attention. Any heel pain with an associated with an injury should be seen right away.
At Performance Injury Care and Sports Medicine, a thorough physical exam and the availability of musculoskeletal ultrasound allow us to specifically diagnose your heel condition. Providers can offer numerous treatment options and help identify possible risk factors for your plantar fascia condition such as tight calf muscles, high medial arches or loss of normal arch, obesity, and repetitive/new/increased activity.