Tis’ the season for being on your feet a whole lot more than you normally are with all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, and socializing. At Paul S. Demarco DPM we are seeing more patients suffering from heel pain, and if you’re one of them, it is certainly not the most wonderful time of the year. Heel pain is frequently caused by a condition known as Plantar Fasciitis.
What are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a long band of tissue that stretches along the bottom of your foot from your heel bone to your toes. When the plantar fascia gets inflamed, you may experience sharp pains in your heels and also the arches of your feet. The pain is usually worse first thing in the morning or after you’ve been sitting for an extended period of time. Plantar fasciitis often starts out gradually and gets worse over time.
Most often, plantar fasciitis is caused by a defect in the structure of the foot. Flat feet or overly high arches both put excessive strain on the plantar fascia and can cause it to become inflamed. Other contributing causes include:
- Footwear that is not supportive or properly fitted
- A job or pastime that requires you to spend long periods of your time standing, particularly on hard surfaces
- Being overweight
Diagnosis and Treatment
In addition to plantar fasciitis, heel pain can be caused by a stress fracture, arthritis or tendonitis so our board certified podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco will want to conduct a complete examination of your foot and also get information from you regarding your symptoms. Digital x-rays (which can be done in our Somers Point office) may be ordered to rule out other heel problems. Once a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis has been confirmed, the foot doctor will most likely want to help you get the inflammation under control and may recommend that you rest your feet, ice the painful areas and take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. Treatment options include:
- Orthotics and padding—to protect inflamed areas and to correct foot mechanic problems that are causing the inflammation in the first place
- Physical therapy—stretching exercises can bring relief
- Night splints—to keep the plantar fascia stretched and avoid morning pain
If you are experiencing pain in your heel this holiday season, call our Somers Point office at (609) 927-4894 and get relief.