Plantar Fasciitis

By Beth Middleton, PTA
Colquitt Regional Medical Center Rehabilitation Services

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain in adults. It is an inflammatory condition caused by excessive wear to the plantar fascia of the foot or biomechanical faults of the foot. Clinical presentation is pain felt on the underside of the heel which is often most intense with the first few steps taken in the morning. The pain may intensify with passive ankle dorsiflexion of the toes (pulling your foot/toes upwards toward the front of your leg) or with standing on the tips of the toes. There are various causes for plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is commonly associated with long periods of weight bearing. Also associated with the condition are obesity, weight gain, jobs that require a lot of walking on hard surfaces, shoes with little to no arch support and inactivity. A heel spur on the calcaneus is often the result of plantar fasciitis, but it is not the cause of pain. There are many treatment options which have been effective in treating plantar fasciitis.

Treatment options include rest, stretching, strengthening, change of shoes, arch supports, orthotics, night splints, therapeutic ultrasound, anti-inflammatory agents and surgery. Usually, plantar fasciitis can be successfully treated but typically takes six to eighteen months to find favorable resolution. Most patients should improve with non-surgical treatment and experience no long term problems.

If you have experienced the symptoms described above, see your family physician for an examination. He/she may refer you to physical therapy for treatment interventions as mentioned above. For more information, you may contact Colquitt Regional Rehabilitation Services at 229-890-3553.