Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common reasons why a patient might schedule a visit with an orthopedic specialist. In fact, around 2 million patients are treated for plantar fasciitis each year in the United States. But how well do you really understand this condition? If you yourself were struggling with plantar fasciitis, would you know?

At OAA Orthopedic Specialists, our board-certified, fellowship trained physicians are committed to empowering our patients, helping them to identify common orthopedic troubles and encouraging them to seek treatment from a specialist sooner rather than later. Here are a few important things to learn about plantar fasciitis that may be helpful if you’re experiencing foot pain of your own:

Get Familiar With the Plantar Fascia

“Plantar fasciitis” is a strange name for a condition, and nothing about it may seem to indicate that it has anything to do with the feet at first glance. In actuality, plantar fasciitis is named for the specific part of the foot that it affects: the “plantar fascia.” The plantar fascia is a ligament that stretches along the bottom of your foot, connecting the heel to the front. Its consistency is webbed and thick, and it serves to absorb shock and support your arch as you walk, run, play, and do everything your feet were meant to do. Although the plantar fascia is strong, it’s not infallible, and certain circumstances can result in the tendon becoming inflamed and severely painful.

Understand How Plantar Fasciitis Happens

So we now know that inflammation of the plantar fascia is the physiological cause of plantar fasciitis. But how does this inflammation occur in the first place? In most cases, it doesn’t happen all at once, or as a result of a single trauma to the foot. Your plantar fascia bears the brunt of a great deal of pressure on your foot, making it susceptible to wear and tear over time. This is especially true of people who are hard on their feet on a daily basis, including athletes, runners, and those working in industries that require them to spend most of their time on their feet, such as service workers and industrial professionals. Additionally, if you’re over the age of 40, you have a particularly high foot arch, or your shoes are ill-fitting or lacking support, you’re likely at a higher risk than others for developing plantar fasciitis.

Know the Signs of Plantar Fasciitis

While there are plenty of potential causes for general foot pain, the symptoms of plantar fasciitis can be quite distinctive. Patients who end up being treated for plantar fasciitis usually report the following sensations before and during their exam:

  • Pain around or on the bottom of the heel (pain can be dull, stabbing, or burning)
  • Pain around or inside the arch of the foot
  • Swelling in the area of the heel
  • Tightening in the Achilles tendon
  • Pain which worsens after exercise

Plantar fasciitis symptoms can also become more severe when standing after a long period of sitting or lying down, including when you first get out of bed in the morning.

Be Ready to Take Action

Pain associated with plantar fasciitis can last for months without treatment, so if you’ve been in foot pain for some time, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic podiatry specialist. An orthopedist who treats conditions of the foot such as plantar fasciitis every day will have a number of solutions to help you find relief from your pain in the short term and long term, and can even help recommend you a pair of shoes that will give you the arch support you need to prevent plantar fasciitis from flaring up again.

Plantar fasciitis is common, but it is also highly treatable and preventable. If you’re at a high risk for plantar fasciitis, consider incorporating foot stretches and proper arch support into your daily routine. If you need guidance, the podiatry team at OAA is happy to help!

If you’re struggling with chronic foot pain, don’t wait until your symptoms get worse. Reach out to the specialists at OAA for an exam and accurate diagnosis from a board-certified professional. If you’re ready to start living pain-free, schedule an appointment with us today.