Plantar fasciitis is a foot disorder that sees inflammation affecting the plantar fascia, the band of tissue that connects your toes and heel. When the inflammation is active, it results in sharp, stabbing pain that originates in the heel. A heel spur, which is a bony outgrowth on the heel bone, may develop along with plantar fasciitis.
Typically, plantar fasciitis is at its worst when you get up in the morning, but eases once you start to move. If you’re on your feet for extended periods, or if you rise from sitting, the pain may reassert itself through the day. If you’re subject to plantar fasciitis pain during exercise, the discomfort is usually felt after your routine, not during the exertion.
The plantar fascia acts as a shock absorber across the bottom of your foot, helping to spread the load on your feet across a greater area. Usually, when the plantar fascia suffers repeated strains, stretching, and micro-tearing, the stress initiates irritation and inflammation, which creates the signature pain of the condition. In some cases, however, there may be no clear cause as to why inflammation occurs.
There are risk factors that increase your chances of experiencing plantar fasciitis. If you’re 40-60 years old, you’re at the prime age to develop this disorder. Jobs that require you to be on your feet for extended times may also increase your chances. Serving staff, factory workers, and teachers often have a high incidence of plantar fasciitis. Running and jumping activities can cause strain across the tissue, and carrying extra weight may also increase your risk.
Conservative treatments include orthotics with arch supports for your shoes, to help spread the stress on your feet over a wider area, splints worn at night to stretch your calves and arch your feet while you sleep, or physical therapy to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. Wrapping the foot with athletic tape in a particular way can also help ease the pain.
A new procedure that Dr. Rosen supports is called Topaz coblation, a 20-minute, minimally-invasive technique that uses radio waves to stimulate healing around scar tissue in the plantar fascia. This is typically used if more conservative treatments weren’t adequate. Though pain relief isn’t immediate, recovery time takes only a few weeks, and for many of those treated with the Topaz procedure, plantar fasciitis won’t recur.