Heel Pain

People experiencing chronic heel pain may want to visit a physician and receive a diagnosis. One common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, a treatable condition.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis (or heel spur syndrome if heel spurs are present) is the inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a tissue band from toe to heel. In many cases, plantar fasciitis pain can initially come as your plantar fascia feeling irritated. The plantar fascia becomes inflamed if left untreated, leading to heel pain.

Speaking of heel spurs, they tend to be painless. However, many people confuse plantar fasciitis as caused by them.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis symptoms consist of pain in your heel bone area.


Specifically, the heel pain is at the bottom. However, it can appear in your foot’s arch. This heel pain (or foot pain) you experience tends to worsen over time if left untreated.

The pain in your plantar fascia tends to be at its worst when you wake up or after long sitting periods. The inflamed band of tissue stretches as you walk, giving you some pain relief. However, your heel pain can return if you’ve walked for a long period. In addition, patients who have long hours at work may find it difficult to work due to foot pain.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the causes are still under research. However, several factors can increase your risk of it. For example, if your calf muscles or Achilles tendon are tight, it can increase your risk. In addition, if you roll your feet inward as you walk, this can increase your risk of heel pain. Patients who have flat feet or high arches and do not use supportive shoes may also increase their risk.

In addition, one of the underlying causes of plantar fasciitis may be their weight. Being overweight or obese is one of the risk factors due to how much weight your feet have to carry.

Other risk factors can include certain diseases. For example, patients who have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis may develop plantar fasciitis.

Currently, there is no genetic link known involving plantar fasciitis. If your family has a medical history of it, it does not mean you will inherit it. However, certain genetic factors, such as your foot’s shape, can increase your risk.

How Do You Diagnose Plantar Fasciitis?

If you feel constant heel bone pain, it may be plantar fasciitis. First, however, you may wonder how a medical professional determines if you have plantar fasciitis or another condition.

In general, a professional will rule out other conditions that can occur. For instance, nerve compression or stress fractures can lead to heel or calf muscle pain and may be confused for plantar fasciitis.

Most patients will get a proper diagnosis through a heel examination and then receive treatment options.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

You may wonder about your treatment options if you’ve been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is often treated through physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and changing your footwear.

For example, regular stretching exercises can help you to stretch your muscles and relieve pain. In addition, you may have to wear supportive shoes that reduce the stress on your heel. Avoid walking barefoot whenever possible as well.

Another way patients can ease the pain is through an ice pack. Ice packs can reduce inflammation and provide relief for your foot.

While some physical activity can help relieve your pain, you may need to reduce your physical activity for a few weeks to give the inflammation time to heal.

During treatment, you may take NSAIDs and other anti-inflammatory medications that can reduce your pain. However, patients must remember that these medications treat the cause, not the symptoms.

If your pain has not disappeared in a few weeks, you should speak to a foot doctor, who may provide custom orthotics and other treatment methods to relieve your pain.

A doctor may recommend night splints to prevent pain when you’re sleeping. Wearing a night splint gently stretches your muscles to help relieve pain.

You may use special padding to reduce pain, or your doctor may have you wear a removable cast that can give it time to heal.

In special cases, steroid injections can also help reduce pain and treat inflammation.

In almost all cases, plantar fasciitis will go away as long as you treat it. However, there are rare cases when plantar fasciitis may require surgery to treat. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing plantar fasciitis after a few months. A doctor can discuss surgery options and determine the best path. While surgery should only be your option as a last resort, it can ultimately treat your condition and allow you to return to your feet.