Plantar Fasciitis

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An Overview on Plantar Fasciitis

It is reported approximately two million patients are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis each year, the most common cause of heel pain. This foot condition is due to micro tears of the plantar fascia that occur from chronic stress and overuse. Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California orthopedic foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Jervis Yau is available to assist patients with treating this common condition and return them their active lifestyle.

The plantar fascia, a thin, strong band of tissue connecting the heel to the forefoot is designed to support the arch and absorb the stresses associated with normal daily activities and sports. When repetitive stress and pressure placed on the ligament, it can cause micro tears and inflammation of the fascia, leading to debilitating pain during weight bearing.

Plantar fasciitis typically develops without a specific cause, but there are several factors that make patients more prone to this condition. Risk factors include:

  • Tight calf muscles and achilles tendon
  • Repetitive impact during sports
  • Increased or new activity
  • A high arch
  • Obesity

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

The hallmark symptom associated with plantar fasciitis is heel pain near the bottom of the heel, especially the first step in the morning when getting out of bed. The heel pain is often worsened with weight bearing and exercise and improves with rest.

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Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosis

Dr. Yau will perform a history and physical exam to determine the nature and location of the pain. He will also assess for foot deformities and tightness that predispose to plantar fasciitis. X-rays are often performed to look for heel spurs that can develop due to chronic stress to the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis is a clinical diagnosis and MRI is typically not needed unless there is suspicion of other causes of heel pain.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

Non-Surgical

Majority of patients will experience improvement of their heel pain with activity modification, consistent stretching of the plantar fascia and achilles tendon, ice, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), and orthotics. Occasionally, corticosteroid injections may be necessary if the patient is not responding.

Surgical

Ankle arthroscopy treatment for plantar fasciitis can be considered if conservative treatment fails after a minimum of one year. Dr. Yau will determine if a plantar fascia release or surgical lengthening of the calf muscles (gastrocnemius recession) is the appropriate treatment option.

If you are suffering from heel pain and are questioning if plantar fasciitis is the cause, please contact Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic foot and ankle specialist in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California area.

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