Our Experienced Doctors Provide Rapid Diagnosis for Plantar Fasciitis

Fascia are strong fibrous tissues in your feet, somewhat like thick rubber bands. They connect the bones of your feet together. The plantar fascia runs from your toes to your heel. It supports the arch of your foot and absorbs the force of walking, running, and jumping. Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury that leads to stretching and tearing of the fascia, which becomes painful and inflamed. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, impacting one in ten people at some point in their lives. We treat patients with this condition often at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists in central Texas. 

Signs of Plantar FasciitisHeel Pain

You may be experiencing plantar fasciitis if you notice some or all of the following issues:

  • Constant dull, aching pain
  • A burning sensation in the bottom of the foot
  • Initial onset after changes in physical activity or running a long distance
  • Pain typically becomes sharp and stabbing: 
    • First thing in the morning or after extended periods of sitting or standing still, sometimes called post-static dyskinesia
    • Following exercise or other intense activity
    • When climbing stairs
  • The pain usually improves with activity
  • Going barefoot or wearing shoes that do not offer arch support often leads to increased pain
  • Pain is only present in one foot
  • The heel of your foot is red or swollen
  • The issues persist for months without resolving
  • Your calf muscles or Achilles tendon seem tight
  • Stiffness in the foot
  • Difficulty walking

Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis

Some people are more likely to experience plantar fasciitis than others because their plantar fascia is under added stress. Some things that can increase the risk of injuring the plantar fascia include:

  • Wearing high heels or other shoes that do not support your feet well
  • Obesity or rapid weight gain (more than 15 pounds in a few months)
  • Being between 40-60 years of age
  • Suddenly increasing physical activity
  • Having a job that requires a lot of time on your feet
  • Spending a lot of time working or exercising on a hard surface
  • Failing to warm up before exercise
  • Flat feet or feet with high arches
  • Injury or weakness in the ankle

Conditions With Similar Symptoms to Plantar Fasciitis

If you notice you are experiencing the signs listed above, this does not mean you definitely have plantar fasciitis. Other conditions can have similar symptoms and these conditions may grow worse or even require surgery you would not otherwise have needed if you don’t see a doctor quickly for an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment. For this reason, it is still a good idea to see a podiatrist, even if you think it’s likely that you have plantar fasciitis.

Some of the other issues that can easily be mistaken for plantar fasciitis are:

  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Arthritis
  • Heel spurs
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Stress fractures

Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis

At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, we know how important it is to have the correct diagnosis quickly so that you can begin treatment and find relief. That’s why we take the time to assess our patients thoroughly. This includes a physical examination, where we may apply pressure to your plantar fascia to determine if it is the cause of your pain. Imaging tests are not typically required to diagnose plantar fasciitis but could be used to rule out other conditions that may present in similar ways.

Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

If you have plantar fasciitis, the good news is that conservative, non-surgical treatment options will likely resolve your symptoms over time. These may include:

  • Rest
  • Activity modification
  • Physical therapy
  • Custom orthotics
  • Night splints
  • Anti-inflammatory pain relievers
  • Perinatal tissue injections
  • MLS laser therapy
  • Lifestyle changes

Surgery is usually only necessary if the patient is in serious, chronic pain, if there are structural issues with the foot, or if there is tissue damage. In some cases, athletes may choose to have surgery to speed up their recovery. At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, our central Texas podiatrists will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that makes sense for your foot and ankle issues and your life. 

Craig Thomajan
Connect with me
Austin Podiatrist