Leading Oceanside Foot Doctor Reveals the Most Likely Cause of Your Heel Pain — Plantar Fasciitis

According to a survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association in 2009, heel pain is the most common foot condition affecting Americans — frequent episodes are experienced by 16 per cent of the population and the most common cause of this ailment is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of tissue (fascia) that extends from the heels to the toes.

However, there are many different types of heel pain including arthritis, bursitis, gout, heel spurs, stress fractures, tumors, vascular and neurological conditions and Achilles tendon injuries. Because of the multitude of causative factors, accurate diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. Initially, your Podiatrist will take a full medical and surgical history; then he or she will carry out a clinical examination of your feet. This will provide a baseline diagnosis that can be further qualified by taking x-rays or using diagnostic ultrasound.

Certain conditions like fractures and heel spurs can be seen clearly on x-rays, but soft tissue anomalies like plantar fasciitis, plantar fasciosis, fibromas and fascial band ruptures can be identified more accurately with diagnostic ultrasound. Once the condition has been identified and a treatment plan outlined, ultrasound can be used to monitor progress.

Heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis can be very debilitating if early treatment is not sought out. Pain is felt on the bottom of the heel toward the arch area and is usually worst on weight-bearing first thing in the morning, or after sitting for long periods of time. As the individual begins to walk, the fascia stretches and the pain eases off, but may resume after long periods of standing or being mobile.

The underlying cause may arise from a faulty structure within the foot, but is more often related to external factors: hard, flat surfaces; non-supportive footwear like flip-flops or pumps; and being overweight. Less commonly, plantar fasciitis can evolve from an unusual activity like climbing ladders while decorating, or sitting for long periods at a desk with the feet resting on a bar that supports the furniture. Pregnant women are also prone to this type of heel pain in the latter stages of pregnancy as a result of increased weight and a softening of ligaments.

Once diagnosed, there are a number of non-surgical treatment options that your Podiatrist will recommend:

— Rest, a heating pad on your foot, and avoiding going barefoot as often as is practical will relieve pain

— Stretching exercises for the calf muscles and plantar fascia will improve the condition

— Padding and strapping and/or shoe modifications will limit strain on the fascia and heel

— Medication, such as anti-inflammatories will reduce pain and inflammation

If the condition does not resolve within a few weeks, your Podiatrist will advise higher level treatment options:

— Custom-made orthotics to correct or stabilize underlying biomechanical anomalies

— Cortico-steroid injections guided by diagnostic ultrasound to eliminate inflammation

— Night splints or walking casts to stretch the fascia and immobilize the foot

Plantar fasciitis may still persist in a small percentage of people even after the above treatment modalities have been exhausted, but heel pain does not need to be tolerated because surgical options are also available that can be carried out by your Podiatrist.

Now, if you happen to live in southwest St. Louis (or anywhere in St. Louis for that matter), and you are experiencing heel pain, you are actually in luck (if you could say that), because that means you will have the opportunity of requesting an appointment with Dr. Thomas Shin, located in Oceanside, CA. Dr. Shin provides the most advanced foot and ankle care available to patients throughout southern California.

Just click here to request an appointment today …