About 10% of Americans seek medical care for heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis every year. At Basin Podiatry in Odessa, Texas, board-certified podiatrist Hillary Brunner, DPM, specializes in diagnosing and treating plantar fasciitis. Fortunately, nearly all cases of plantar fasciitis improve with conservative or nonsurgical care. To schedule your consultation, call the office or click on the online booking tool today.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of heel pain. Excessive stress and pressure on the plantar fascia — the fibrous tissue connecting the heel and ball of the foot — triggers tiny tears and inflammation. This leads to heel pain.

What are the signs of plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis and sharp heel pain go hand-in-hand. The pain usually feels most intense first thing in the morning, with the first steps you take after getting out of bed.

As you walk around, the plantar fascia stretches and the pain generally recedes. But pain may return after long periods of rest. Some people experience severe heel pain when climbing stairs, standing on their toes, or walking barefoot.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is normally quite resilient. It absorbs your whole body weight when walking, standing, jumping, and running. But many factors can stress the plantar fascia beyond its limits, including:

  • Wearing shoes with poor arch support
  • Carrying extra weight or gaining a lot of weight quickly
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Tightening in your calf muscles

More than 80% of people with plantar fasciitis are active adults aged 25-65, but the condition can also affect teenagers and elderly individuals.

How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?

Dr. Brunner performs a physical exam to determine the cause of your heel pain. She typically takes a foot X-ray as well, which looks for other possible causes of pain like arthritis.

Many people with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs — small bony hooks on the underside of their heel — evident on X-rays. Surprisingly, heel spurs aren’t usually the cause of the pain (they’re more of a response to the plantar fasciitis). Therefore, treating your plantar fasciitis often resolves the pain.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

Dr. Brunner prescribes customized treatment plans for plantar fasciitis. A typical plan includes:

  • Oral anti-inflammatory medication to reduce inflammation
  • Foot exercises to stretch the plantar fascia
  • Custom orthotics to support your foot arch and relieve pressure on the plantar fascia
  • Changing your shoes to support your foot better
  • Wearing a splint at night to stretch your plantar fascia
  • Corticosteroid injections

About 95% of people with plantar fasciitis experience good results with conservative pain management strategies. However, if you have recurrent plantar fasciitis, Dr. Brunner can perform foot surgery to relieve the pressure on your plantar fascia.

To receive expert help for plantar fasciitis, call the Basin Podiatry office or click on the online booking tool today.