Plantar Fasciitis (Policeman’s Heel)

Sometimes called heel spurs or policeman's heel, plantar fasciitis is soreness of the fascia. Plantar fasciitis often causes bone spur growth where the fascia attaches to the heel.

What You Need To Know About Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick connective tissue that supports the bottom of the foot (the plantar fascia) becomes inflamed due to overuse.

The condition begins with faint pain like your heel has a bruise. Gradually, it progresses, you may experience chronic and severe pain that can interfere with everyday activities like work and exercise.

People affected by heel spurs may try to change the way they walk in an attempt to compensate for the pain. This shift can cause more complications with your back, hip, and knee.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis varies from non-surgical treatments to surgery. Your Resurgens doctor will carefully evaluate your condition before recommending treatment. Your doctor will not recommend surgery unless conservative alternatives are not sufficient.

A Resurgens physician will be able to give you a more thorough rundown of your condition during your Foot and Ankle Center appointment.

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What Causes Plantar Fasciitis

There is no single cause of plantar fasciitis. You can develop the condition based on your genetic history or your environment/workplace. Also, injury can cause plantar fasciitis to develop.

The risk of developing bone spurs is higher if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Are female
  • Are 40 to 60 years old
  • Obesity
  • Have flat feet or high arches
  • Develop achilles tendons tightness, or "heel cords"
  • Unusual walk/gait or foot position
  • Often wear high-heeled shoes
  • Spend many hours standing each day
  • Wear worn-out shoes with thin soles

Your Resurgens physician will be able to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of your condition.

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Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis occurs from a plantar fascia that is pulled too tightly or has been irritated by overuse. Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Pain that occurs at the bottom of the heel or the bottom midfoot area. Some people experience it on both feet; however, it usually only affects one foot

  • Burning aches, sharp pain or dull discomfort radiating from the base of the heel

  • Plantar fasciitis is especially painful after long periods of rest, for example, when putting your feet on the floor in the morning

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may have plantar fasciitis. Schedule an appointment with a Resurgens Foot and Ankle doctor to learn more.

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How is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed

During your initial consultation, your Resurgens physician will examine your foot and ask you some questions about the history of your foot pain. These inquiries will help them discover the nature of your condition.

Every condition is different, and proper treatment requires extensive assessment. On your first visit to Resurgens Foot and Ankle Center, you may need diagnostic screening. These diagnostic screenings help your doctor customize a treatment plan for your condition.

Your doctor may have an x-ray taken of your foot to look for other problems such as broken bones that may be causing your pain.

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Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options

There are many options for treating plantar fasciitis. Recovery time for plantar fasciitis varies, depending on the severity of the condition. During recovery, pay close attention to the treatment recommended by your doctor. Limit activities that may contribute to the pain and irritation and slow your healing process.

Full recovery may take anywhere from a few weeks to six months.

Lifestyle Change

On a basic level, your Resurgens doctor will probably recommend that you restrict the activities that likely caused the plantar fasciitis inflammation. Buying well-cushioned shoes can help alleviate your condition. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight will decrease the stress on the plantar fascia and related tissues.

Therapies

Severe cases of plantar fasciitis may need physical therapy, which can help stretch the tissues and strengthen the muscles surrounding the ankle and heel for better stability. You may also receive at-home plantar fasciitis stretches. Wearing custom orthotics and/or night splints may ease some conditions.

Medication

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen) to help reduce pain and inflammation.

Surgical/Procedures

There are many outpatient treatments for plantar fasciitis, including injections, extracorporeal shock therapy, and ultrasonic tissue repair.

A small percentage of patients suffering from plantar fasciitis require surgical intervention. Surgery is not recommended for treatment unless conservative options have not been ineffective.

Your Resurgens physicians will recommend a treatment plan tailored to your unique condition.

Learn more about the Foot and Ankle Center at Resurgens Orthopaedics.

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