Dr Brandon Nelson, A Board-Certified Physician & Surgeon Discusses Plantar Fasciitis

Dr Brandon Nelson, A Board-Certified Physician & Surgeon Discusses Plantar Fasciitis

heel pain out of bed in the morning

Plantar fasciitis or heel pain is the most common cause to seek help from a foot and ankle physician.  There are many causes of heel pain but by far the most common is plantar fasciitis.  So, let’s discuss first what the plantar fascia is, second why it occur and lastly how to fix it. 

What is your plantar fascia?  The plantar fascia is located on the bottom of your foot.  It runs the entire length of your foot from your heel to your toes.  It starts with an attachment at the calcaneus, your heel bone, and runs to your metatarsal head, where your toes start.  It is a thick dense fascial type of tissue.  Its main function is to support your arch.  It also helps flex your toes and provides stability to your foot with ambulation.

Why does plantar fasciitis happen?  There are many schools of thought on this one but let’s talk about a few of the most common.  The first and probably most accepted theory is overuse.  The fascia never gets a chance to rest, it is the workhorse of the foot.  Every step you take it is activated and over time this can fatigue the structure.  Secondly foot genetics can play a role in it as well.  People with a flatfoot tend to need more arch support and this can put pressure on the plantar fascia.  Lastly there is a thought that tight calf muscles can pull on the fascia making it irritated.  I think all of these can have merit in certain circumstances and I often see multiple etiologies. 

Lastly, how do we treat plantar fasciitis?  This is a more complex question.  I think this one is very hard to answer as every case can be different.  I think a careful history and physical is essential for proper treatment.  I also find length of time and activity level to be important.  But a couple general things can help like calf stretching and activity medication can be essential. 

If you would like a consultation on your heel pain, I can help.  Call to make an appointment with me at 425-391-8666 or schedule an appointment online today. 

Sincerely,

Dr Brandon Nelson

American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons

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