- Trauma or injury to the foot, damaging the nerve and resulting in swelling.
- Improper footwear, like shoes that squeeze the foot together. High heels also increase pressure on the vulnerable areas.
- Recurring stress to the feet through repeated physical activities or exercise. This is common with patients who are constantly on their feet due to their job.
- Deformities of the foot, like a high arch or flat foot. These lead to instability throughout the foot.
- Taping and padding: This is a special type of tape and bandages that you place on the bottom of the foot. This helps with your symptoms.
- Orthotics: These are the custom shoes that your podiatrist can create for you.
- Medication: Cortisone injections reduce the pain and inflammation in the foot. Anti-inflammatory drugs also reduce your swelling.
- Surgery is the last resort for treatment. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis. The injured nerve is removed and recovery takes a few weeks.
If you experience pain in your heels as soon as you step out of bed in the morning, or if your heels ache after a long day of being on your feet, you may be dealing with plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory disorder in the connective tissue of the foot. This is a common problem seen at Providence Foot Health Center in Washington, DC, and your podiatrist, James Mintzer, has plenty of experience in diagnosing and treating it.
Below, a few frequently asked questions about plantar fasciitis are answered.
What is the plantar fascia?
The plantar fascia is a thick band of stretchy tissue that expands the length of the foot's base, connecting the bones under the toes to the heel. This tissue, known as a ligament, helps to support the foot's arch.
How does plantar fasciitis happen?
Constant use of the feet can bring on plantar fasciitis, which causes tiny tears in the tissue. This is a common occurrence for people whose jobs require a lot of standing or those who run for exercise. These risk factors can be exacerbated by obesity, arch abnormalities (high arches or flat feet), or ill-fitting shoes.
How is plantar fasciitis treated?
The good news is that most people recover from plantar fasciitis without surgical intervention. Along with anti-inflammatory medication, your Washington, DC, foot doctor may start treatment for your plantar fasciitis by suggesting new shoes that fit well and offer the support you need. Physical therapy exercises may also be helpful in promoting healing. If conservative treatments of your plantar fasciitis aren't successful, Dr. Mintzer may administer steroid injections to help reduce inflammation and pain. In some cases, a surgical procedure may be needed as a permanent solution.
Contact Providence Foot Health Center in Washington, DC, if you think you might be dealing with plantar fasciitis. We can be reached at (202) 269-4062.
- Running requires shoes with shock absorption. Your feet take on a lot of pressure and friction. Cushioning your shoes in the correct areas keeps you from feeling the pain.
- Traction is important in sports that need quick changes in direction and sprinting, like basketball. Traction should never be too high or low. The right shoes keep you from slipping on the floor while letting you move and pivot.
- Ankle support is a must. It limits the side-to-side movement that knocks your ankle out of alignment. This kind of support keeps ankle sprains at bay. For sports like basketball, hockey, skiing, and skating, make sure that your shoes aren’t too high. Otherwise, they will dig into your Achilles tendon. You can also wear soft ankle braces.
- Arch support varies for everyone. Your podiatrist can test your foot to determine your gait. Depending on the results, your podiatrist can recommend orthotics or special shoe inserts.
The arches of the feet play a role in supporting your body’s weight when standing or in motion. The tarsal and metatarsal bones make up the arches of the feet, also receiving additional support and stability from tendons and ligaments; however, our feet, like the rest of our body, can be affected by infections, disorders, and structural changes that can impact not only the health of our feet but also our mobility. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of arch problems so you know when you to see a podiatrist.
Arch Pain Causes
If you are dealing with arch pain it is most likely caused by an injury or by structural abnormalities in the foot. For example, those with very high arches as well as those with flat feet may experience arch problems due to these common structural issues.
As a result, there are other factors that could also lead to further arch problems including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Plantar fasciitis
- Cavus foot
- Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction
It’s important to understand a little bit more about these common foot disorders and how they could affect the arches of your feet.
This condition that causes inflammation and microtears in the plantar fascia is also the most common cause of heel pain. Of course, because the plantar fascia (a ligament that connects the toes to the heel bone) also supports the arches of the feet this can also lead to arch pain. This condition is usually the result of overuse and is seen most often in runners. If you have plantar fasciitis it’s important to avoid physical activities until the fascia has fully healed.
This condition, which affects the structure of the foot, leads to excessively high arches. People who’ve had a stroke, as well as people with certain conditions such as cerebral palsy may be more likely to develop cavus foot. This problem causes arch pain when standing or walking and can increase the risk for ankle injuries. Your podiatrist may choose to treat cavus foot through custom-made orthotics (shoe inserts), bracing, or by recommending specialized and supportive footwear.
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction
The posterior tibial tendon runs from the calf muscles to the inner portion of the foot. This condition leads to changes in the tendon, which in turn affects its ability to support the arches of the foot. Flat feet can be caused by posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, and this is often the cause of flat feet that develop in adulthood. Like the other conditions above, treatment for PTTD usually involves bracing, orthotics, or providing custom devices that provide additional support to the arches of the feet.
If you are experiencing foot pain, swelling or other problems that affect mobility then it’s time that you turned to a podiatrist for care. Conditions and injuries that don’t respond to rest and at-home care may require more advanced treatments and therapies.
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