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What is plantar fasciitis? Plenty of our patients have either never heard of this condition, or only know it has something to do with foot pain.
Still, plantar fasciitis is a common condition that occurs when the ligament or tissue joining the heel bone to the toe becomes inflamed. It can be very painful, and your symptoms may worsen if left untreated.
Fortunately, a podiatrist can diagnose and treat your plantar fasciitis.
Our podiatry office is dedicated to helping you identify and address the causes of your foot or ankle pain.
We will evaluate your foot pain and perform tests as needed, which may include X-rays or other imaging. Once we diagnose plantar fasciitis, we’ll recommend a treatment plan to match your particular circumstances.
Heel pain is typically the first and primary symptom. Some people describe the feeling as a stabbing pain in the heel bone, and it’s often worse when you first get up and start moving around in the morning.
After a few minutes of walking around, the pain may improve, but it can also worsen if you stand on your feet for a long time or sit for a while and then get up again. Some patients report that climbing stairs makes the pain worse.
We call the thick band of tissue that runs from the toe bone to the heel bone the plantar fascia. There are many possible causes for inflammation in this area, and we don’t always know exactly what triggered it.
Anything that damages or stresses this tissue could trigger plantar fasciitis, and the ligaments may suffer small tears during exercise. Some risk factors include:
You might also be at higher risk if you recently started a vigorous exercise routine or substantially increased your activity levels.
Some people have flat feet or high arches, which can increase the risk of plantar fasciitis. Others may have a particular gait or pattern of walking that contributes to risk.
We may advise you to take a break from activities like running or dancing to allow the tissues in your foot to heal. If your job requires you to stand for long periods, taking some time off might be helpful, but we understand that isn’t a viable option for everyone.
If it’s possible to do your job while sitting, you may be able to ask for accommodations for your injury, and we’ll help with any documentation you need. We also recommend elevating your foot and using ice to help reduce the pain when you sit down.
Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation while the plantar fasciitis is healing. We’ll discuss other options if you’ve already tried these and they didn’t provide enough relief.
Sometimes prescription medication or injections are reasonable short-term solutions while we address the root cause of your pain.
Strengthening your feet and ankles is another crucial element in preventing plantar fasciitis from returning.
Some patients may work with a physical therapist to improve their gait if the foot specialist believes this contributes to heel pain. Your podiatrist may also give you exercises to do at home for improved flexibility, strength, and muscle tone in your feet and ankles.
Frequently calf-stretching exercises are helpful for plantar fasciitis, as tight calf muscles can affect the arch of your foot. Many people are surprised to learn that failing to stretch their calves enough before exercise can cause overpronation, a gait problem that flattens the foot arches.
Often people develop plantar fasciitis because of stress on the foot, or an existing food problem like fallen arches, or both. At your appointment, we’ll talk about the kind of shoes you regularly wear and how these may impact your foot health.
It’s helpful to bring the shoes you wear most often – especially if you have a job that involves standing for long hours – so we can determine the best way to relieve pressure on your feet.
Sometimes, we may recommend investing in a new pair of shoes. We can also point you to several stores in our area that do custom fittings for orthotic shoes.
If you have Medicaid, you may be able to get one pair of shoes per year for free with a prescription from your podiatrist.
Custom orthotics are shoe inserts that replace the insoles of your shoes, providing more cushioning or support in areas where it’s most needed. Sometimes we advise these for your existing shoes or for a new, more supportive pair.
You may wonder if these are similar to the shoe inserts you’ve seen for sale at the shoe store. In some ways, they are – both inserts are placed in the shoe to create a more comfortable environment for your feet.
The difference is that custom orthotics are made specifically for you based on scans we take of your feet. The packaged shoe inserts you find in stores are made in a factory for an “average” foot.
The latter may be accompanied by a fancy-looking machine that promises to scan your feet and recommend the correct shoe insert for you, which it does – it recommends the closest match from the shoe inserts on the rack.
Unfortunately, the closest match isn’t very close for many people, so these shoe inserts often don’t help much.
Custom orthotics are created for your exact foot shape. After scanning your feet, we make a mold and send it to a lab that builds the inserts based on our specifications.
This process takes a few weeks, but we give you temporary inserts in the meantime. These are made of a lightweight material that isn’t meant to last very long but will hold up until the permanent inserts arrive.
When you receive your new inserts, we’ll help you insert them, then give you a chance to walk around the office and see how they feel.
Getting used to custom orthotics can take a little time, but if you find them uncomfortable after wearing them for more than a few days, please see your podiatrist again. We will make adjustments if they aren’t fitting quite right in your shoe or supplying the exact support you need.
Because these orthotics are meant to last long, we can adjust them until they’re exactly what you need.
Custom orthotics are not only an excellent choice for people who stand all day, but they can be very beneficial for athletes.
We know that you want to get back to running or other workouts once your plantar fasciitis is healed, and we want to help you do it in a way that will reduce the risk of your heel pain returning.
Custom orthotics for your running or athletic shoes can reduce strain on the ligaments and tissues and protect your feet from further issues.
Dr. Elizabeth Auger provides holistic, patient-centered care for people with a wide variety of foot and ankle issues, including heel pain. For 24 years, she’s practiced in the Salt Lake City area after completing her residency here with intensive training in foot surgery and wound care.
Dr. Auger belongs to The College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and is Board Certified in Podiatric Medicine by The American Board of Lower Extremity Surgery.
Don’t wait for the pain to worsen – this could cause your recovery to take longer. If you are experiencing heel pain or other foot or ankle difficulties, please call our office at 801-758-7052 today.
Our friendly staff will set up an appointment, and we often have same-day openings. Your podiatrist will take a thorough medical history, examine your feet, ask questions about your symptoms, and conduct imaging or other tests as needed.
After diagnosing the problem, we’ll create a customized treatment plan for you.
1561 W 7000 S, Suite 200
West Jordan, Utah 84084
3934 S 2300 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84124