Is Heel Pain Making It Difficult for You to Walk? Receive Effective Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Near Jackson, NJ

Male runner sitting on path with his sneaker off rubbing his painful heel

A common cause of heel pain, plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia becomes stiff and inflamed. This thick band of tissue (ligament) spans the sole, supports the arch, and connects the heel bone to the base of the toes. Because the plantar fascia plays an important role in foot mechanics, plantar fasciitis can make walking difficult and painful. Often referred to as first-step pain, the discomfort may improve after a few steps, but often worsens with vigorous or prolonged activity.

Plantar fasciitis frequently affects people who spend a lot of time on their feet. Teachers, nurses, servers, and industrial workers are particularly prone to the condition, as are long-distance runners, dancers, and other high-demand athletes.

How Is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?

To distinguish plantar fasciitis from other potential causes of heel pain—such as stress fractures, compressed nerves, heel spurs, and loss of fatty tissue under the heel bone—a physician will typically perform a thorough physical examination and medical history review. Detailed imaging tests are usually unnecessary to confirm a diagnosis.

How Is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?

Many patients benefit from a conservative treatment plan for plantar fasciitis, which may involve a combination of:

  • Activity modifications
  • Stretches and physical therapy
  • Ice applications
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • An overnight brace or splint
  • A heel-cushioning orthotic
  • Athletic taping
  • Steroid injections

While surgical treatment is usually unnecessary for plantar fasciitis, surgery may be considered to address severe symptoms that do not respond to several weeks of conservative treatment. One option may be a minimally invasive TENEX procedure, which involves an ultrasound-guided removal of scar tissue around the plantar fascia. Another option involves releasing part of the plantar fascia to reduce tension and alleviate swelling. In a case of overly tight calf muscles and tendons (equinus contracture), a surgeon may release the gastrocnemius tendon to lengthen the muscles at the back of the leg and allow the heel to shift down into a more natural position.

The orthopedic specialists at Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute (AOSMI) offer a full range of the latest treatment options for plantar fasciitis and other foot and ankle conditions. For more information or to schedule a consultation with a foot care specialist at our state-of-the-art sports medicine center near Jackson, New Jersey, contact us today.