Many patients present annually to Fort Lauderdale Orthopedics suffering from heel pain or plantar fasciitis. Most patients with plantar fasciitis complain of pain under the heel, especially when walking first thing in the morning or when they get up after sitting for a while. It is common among long-distance walkers or runners, and athletes who participate in high-impact sports. It is often worse in those who walk barefoot at home on tiled or wooden floors, or stand barefoot in the shower.
Plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot anchored to the bottom of the heel bone. It connects to the toes much like a bowstring and forms the arch of the foot. This thick band of tissue is designed to absorb high stresses and strains, but too much pressure can cause microscopic tearing of the tissue, producing heel pain. Sources of extra stress include:
• Overuse. Plantar fasciitis is common in runners and walkers. Spending a lot of time walking or standing on hard surfaces can also strain the arch of your foot.
• Anatomy. Flat feet, high arches and tight muscles in the calves and heels can result in extra stress on your fascia.
• Shoes. Heel pain is often caused by shoes that do not fit properly or fail to provide enough cushioning or support.
A discussion of your symptoms and a simple examination of your foot and ankle are usually enough to diagnose plantar fasciitis, but x-rays may be taken to rule out other problems. Tune in next week for a discussion of treatments for this condition. For more information about plantar fasciitis and heel pain, or to schedule an appointment, call the office of Fort Lauderdale Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine today at (954) 400-5544.