Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: Is It Treatable?

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that affects the sole of the foot. Chronic plantar fasciitis can be debilitating, but treatments are available. At Best Foot Doctor NY we will work with you to determine the best course of treatment for you. 

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a tough ligament that runs across the base of the foot. It connects the heel to the toes and is important for running, maintaining the arch of your foot, and pointing your toes.  An inflamed fascia (fasciitis) is characterized by a sharp pain in the heel. This pain is more severe in the morning or after you have been standing or sitting still for a long time. 

Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis

  • middle age (40-60 years old)
  • overweight
  • flat foot
  • gait that increases stress on your fascia
  • wearing shoes that do not support your heel and the sole of the foot well
  • activities such as dance and running for long periods of time
  • walking or standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time

Acute Vs Chronic

Acute plantar fasciitis flares up quickly and is easily relieved by over-the-counter pain medication or anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, ice, rest, stretches, and supportive shoes or custom orthotics. Splints or a walking boot may help to hold the fascia in place. 

Chronic plantar fasciitis is more stubborn and will return repeatedly. Patients with chronic plantar fasciitis may have small tears in their fascia causing chronic low-grade inflammation that is easily exacerbated. Chronic inflammation also leads to permanently damaged tissue. At this point, surgery or other non-invasive treatments are offered. 

Treatments for Chronic Plantar Fasciitis

Chronic plantar fasciitis often requires more invasive treatment to not only control symptoms but also treat the cause. 

Steroid Injections

Steroid injections help to reduce inflammation and pain; however, the pain may return after the steroid medication is no longer in your system. Because multiple injections can weaken the tissue and cause further problems, after several shots, your doctor will begin to discuss other options. 

Wave Therapy

No, not the ocean waves. Non-invasive sound waves can be used to stimulate healing around the tissue. Ultrasound waves can be used for visualization while your doctor inserts a small probe (about the size of a needle) into the area of the scarred, damaged fascia. Then, using a combination of vibration and suction the tissue is broken up and removed from your foot. 

Detachment

If none of these treatments are relieving your chronic plantar fasciitis, the final treatment is surgery to remove the plantar fascia from the heel. This procedure is known as a plantar fasciotomy. Recovery typically lasts several weeks and includes a period in which you will not be able to bear any weight on that foot. After those first weeks, you will gradually begin to bear weight and may be instructed to begin physical therapy or wear custom supports to aid in healing. 

Chronic plantar fasciitis is indeed treatable. At Best Foot Doctor, NY we want to help you live a pain-free, independent life. Contact us today!

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