Do you suffer from plantar fasciitis heel pain and/or ankle pain? If so, you’re not alone.
According to Medscape, an estimated one million patients visit the doctor yearly because of plantar fasciitis. This chronic foot condition causes 10% of running injuries and comprises up to 15% of all foot-related issues needing professional treatment. Moreover, it’s estimated that 10% of the general population deals with plantar fasciitis.
The good news? Given plantar fasciitis’s prevalence, there’s been plenty of research and advancements in treatments to reduce pain and improve your quality of life.
Plantar fasciitis is primarily known for causing chronic heel pain and is the most common cause of that same symptom. The condition occurs when a strain, swelling, or inflammation occurs in the thick tissue band travelling across the bottom of the feet and connecting the toes and heels. This band of tissue, or ligament, is called the plantar fascia.
The function of the plantar fascia is to absorb shock while walking, wherein small tears can result from stress and tension on the fascia.
If tearing and stretching persist, it causes inflammation and irritation. That said, in many instances of plantar fasciitis heel pain, the underlying cause is often unclear.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include stabbing pain near the heel at the bottom of your foot. Most often, any related stiffness and soreness are at their worst when you wake up. Additionally, extended periods of walking or standing can trigger pain and discomfort. Standing up after sitting for a long time can also lead to a flare-up of your plantar fasciitis symptoms.
Those suffering from plantar fasciitis heel pain can worsen their symptoms by wearing hard-heeled or ballerina/flat-soled shoes.
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(While plantar fasciitis ankle pain is less frequent than heel pain, it’s still a risk for those hampered by this chronic foot condition. Episodes of plantar fasciitis can irritate your nerves and radiate to your ankle, causing severe discomfort.)
Here’s a list of factors that leave you vulnerable to plantar fasciitis heel pain and ankle pain:
Plantar fasciitis can have a negative, cascading impact on your quality of life. Due to the chronic heel pain you might face, you are likelier to change how you walk. This compensation can lead to broader foot issues or cause damage to your back, hip, and knees.
Treating Your Plantar Fasciitis
Much of the time, plantar fasciitis symptoms disappear soon after you wake up and get moving. All the same, the pain can often become more chronic and impede your overall quality of life. Thus, even if symptoms are minor, it’s best to be proactive and receive treatments ASAP.
After receiving a diagnosis from a trusted foot and ankle specialist, you’ll be given a conservative treatment plan that includes:
Specific instances might call for you to tape your foot, take anti-inflammatory medication for a few days, apply ice, and use a night splint.
Provided symptoms don’t improve after more conservative treatments, ultrasound-guided cortisone injections or shockwave treatments are worth considering.
Long-suffering patients with overly rigid calf muscles might benefit from a minor operation. In this instance, the tight calf muscle gets released by a small incision, relieving plantar fascia stress.
Are you dealing with chronic plantar fasciitis heel pain (or ankle pain)? Then contact one of London’s leading orthopaedic surgeons specialising in ankle and foot problems, Martin Klinke, to receive effective, lasting guidance and treatments.