Plantar Fasciitis Q & A
by Ernest S. Levi, DPM
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the most common source of heel pain in this country, with some 2 million Americans seeking treatment for the condition every year. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fibrous tissue band that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting your heel to your toes, tears or becomes inflamed. Plantar fasciitis can be extremely painful. The pain is most prominent with a patient’s first steps in the morning and can decrease as the foot limbers up throughout the day. However, the pain often returns after periods of sitting or standing.
Who is at greatest risk for developing plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is common among runners, as well as those who are overweight, wear shoes with poor support, and are employed in occupations that require long periods of time standing. It is also more prevalent among women than men and adults between the ages 40 and 60.
What are the first-line treatment options for plantar fasciitis?
Dr. Levi always favors starting with a conservative treatment approach. Most patients find total pain relief from such non-invasive methods within 4 to 6 months. These approaches include:
- Specific stretching techniques
- Keeping off your feet
- Applying ice in 20-minute intervals several times a day
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Night splints that stretch the calf and arch of your foot while you sleep
- Orthotics designed to evenly distribute the weight and pressure on your feet
- Wearing supportive, low-heeled shoes
If these approaches do not offer relief, Dr. Levi may recommend surgery.
What does surgery for plantar fasciitis entail?
This surgery is an outpatient procedure and involves cutting the plantar fascia ligament to release tension. While everyone is different, usually patients who undergo plantar fasciitis surgery are be able to return to their normal weight bearing activities within two to three weeks.
Ernest Levi, DPM | 30 East 40th Street | Suite 401 | New York, NY 10016