Plantar fasciitis, also called a heel spur or plantar fasciitis, is a common condition that causes pain and tenderness of the heel bone and its surrounding structures. The condition is caused by inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia, the tissue that runs from the heel to the toes. The plantar fascia is responsible for cushioning the heel against the arch, but in the case of plantar fasciitis, this delicate cushioning is overstretched and can eventually rupture. If the plantar fascia ruptures, the result is severe pain in the area of the injury, which may be present on the inner side or the outer side.
Unfortunately, there is no one specific cause of plantar fasciitis, and there is no clear cut cure, although some forms of treatment are more effective than others. Although plantar fasciitis is more common among athletes than in other people, it can affect anyone at any time. The first step to treating plantar fasciitis is to diagnose it as soon as possible so that it can be treated properly.
Diagnosis of heel spur is often done by physical examination. Your doctor can do a test called the heel sprain lumbar puncture to feel for swelling of the heel and the plantar fascia. A podiatrist will perform a similar procedure to determine if your plantar fascia has already ruptured.
Treatment for plantar fascitis usually involves a doctor putting steroid creams into the heel spur to reduce inflammation and pain. In severe cases, surgery is recommended to repair the plantar fascia. However, surgery will usually only be done when the condition is so severe that the condition cannot be controlled by nonsurgical measures. Surgery may be recommended for a small heel spur, and it may even be performed for an individual who has a severe form of plantar fasciitis.
You should also avoid any activity that increases the pain in the area of the heel. For example, wearing tight shoes can increase the amount of force that is exerted against the heel, which can aggravate the problem. To help alleviate the pain and reduce the inflammation of your plantar fascia, it may be helpful to warm up and cool down your foot before and after any activity.
Other treatments include anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and inflammation and cortisone injections to help reduce inflammation and to reduce the risk of rupture of the plantar fascia. In the past, surgery was used to treat heel spurs, but there is now a better method to treat this condition. There is also an emerging movement to treat plantar fasciitis with natural treatments. More research is being done on alternative remedies to relieve heel spurs, but the use of topical and herbal supplements is also becoming more popular.