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What is Plantar Fasciitis? Answers from Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that affects the plantar fascia – the ligament in the foot that connects the heel to the toes. When this ligament becomes stiff and inflamed, walking can become extremely painful. The pain usually decreases after taking a few steps, but it can be made worse by extended periods of activity.

While anyone can experience plantar fasciitis, it is most common among people who spend a majority of their time on their feet – either as a result of their occupation or their hobbies. Teachers, nurses, waiters and industrial workers are especially prone to plantar fasciitis, as are long-distance runners, dancers and other athletes.

How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?

Unlike other common foot injuries, plantar fasciitis usually does not require detailed imaging tests to be diagnosed, although an X-ray or MRI may be recommended if other issues could potentially be causing a person’s pain. A physical exam and medical history is usually enough to diagnose plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis treatments

Conservative therapies are typically used to relieve the pain and inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis. Options include:

  • Ibuprofen or naproxen sodium
  • Overnight braces
  • Custom orthotic shoe inserts
  • Steroid injections
  • Physical therapy

Surgery is rarely necessary to treat plantar fasciitis. That said, in the most severe cases, it is possible to detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone to relieve persistent systems. However, this can have a negative impact on the arch of the foot, so it is typically only recommended as a last resort.

At Advanced Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, we treat a variety of common and complex conditions, including plantar fasciitis. Patients of all activity levels can turn to us for comprehensive diagnostic services and treatments. We believe that minimally invasive treatments are – in most situations – the best initial approach, and can help you find a combination of options that works for you. If surgery is necessary, our board-certified foot surgeons can recommend the most effective procedures for your specific needs. For more information or to schedule an initial appointment, contact us today.