An extremely common foot problem, plantar fasciitis affects millions of individuals in the United States every year. Typically felt in the heel, plantar fasciitis occurs when the fascia of the foot suffers inflammation or injury. But, what does fascia mean exactly?
A specialized network of fibrous tissues, fascia occupies all the avenues and corners of your body. Similar to tendons and ligaments, fascia serves as a connective tissue. As such, this collagen-based material binds the major components of your body together with one another. This includes your muscles, bones, organs, and arteries, as well as everything else in between. In addition, these connective tissues function to absorb the friction between adjacent structures. As your muscles and veins rub together during everyday movement, for example, your fascia safeguards these structures from erosion. Lastly, your fascia contains a dense network of nerves that dispatch sensory information—including pain detection—to your central nervous system.
Furthermore, your feet contain a crucial swatch of fascia that spans the entire bottom of your foot. Known as the “plantar fascia,” this rubbery, ligament-like material extends from your heel to your toes. Not only does your plantar fascia enable that bounce when you walk, but it also reinforces the skeletal integrity of your foot. When this tissue becomes overworked, however, a thinning or tearing of the fascia can occur. Referred to as “plantar fasciitis,” this condition results in a persistent, stabbing pain in the heel or arch of the foot.
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The symptoms of plantar fasciitis are fairly consistent across the board. Discomfort will typically begin in the heel, starting out as a minor twinge and progressing into stabbing pain. As your condition worsens, your pain may extend along the entire arch of your foot. In addition, painful symptoms from plantar fasciitis tend to peak first thing in the morning. As you move throughout your day, however, you should notice that pain begins to subside. Correspondingly, the symptoms of plantar fasciitis tend to dissipate with strenuous activities—such as exercise—only to erupt at full force during rest.
Despite this trend, however, over-recruitment of the foot most often leads to the development of plantar fasciitis. Risk factors that aggravate or contribute to plantar fasciitis frequently include:
Do any of these risk factors or symptoms sound familiar? For a more thorough symptom evaluation and diagnosis, contact our award-winning orthopedic team at NJ Spine & Ortho today! Our board-certified orthopedists use the latest advancements in surgical technology to eliminate your foot and heel pain!
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A relatively straightforward diagnosis, plantar fasciitis is often easy to identify by both the patient and the physician. However, if you have a history of trauma to your foot or ankle, your physician may prescribe an X-ray. This imaging technique will allow your doctor to rule out any improperly healed fractures or structural damage to the foot. In addition, an X-ray can uncover any bone spurs in the heel that may be compounding your symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
For individuals who have received a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis, your doctor will likely recommend a course of conservative treatments. These initial steps often include extended periods of rest, icing your foot, and the administration of mild pain relievers. In addition, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy to enable you to develop a regimen of appropriate exercises. Under the guidance of a physical therapist, you can achieve pain relief as well as any recommended weight loss. Furthermore, if the mechanics of your foot trigger your condition, your orthopedist may recommend specialized footwear or shoe inserts.
Very rarely do individuals with plantar fasciitis require surgery. However, in severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to relieve discomfort and restore the full use of your foot. These minimally invasive interventions—like Plantar Fascia Release—involve small incisions with little to no blood loss or pain. Performed as a same-day procedure, Plantar Fascia Release boasts short recovery times and overwhelming success rates for eliminating foot pain.
At New Jersey Spine & Orthopedic, our minimally invasive surgery team uses gentle procedures to eliminate plantar fasciitis. Contact our orthopedic team to schedule your first appointment—and reclaim your life!
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