Foot pain can be a very annoying and troublesome issue. Over 2 million Americans every year present for medical evaluation with foot pain roughly affecting 1 in 5 people. The most common cause of foot pain is plantar fasciitis, accounting for up to 15% of all foot symptoms. Over time this issue can become detrimental on overall functional quality of life. This injury can affect anyone from the high mileage runner to the occasional morning walker, and everyone in between. As human beings we rely heavily on our feet for mobility and balance; therefore preventing, diagnosing, and treating plantar fasciitis sooner rather than later is vital to daily function.
Anatomically, the plantar fascia originates from the medial tubercle of the calcaneus (inside part of heel bone). It then goes across the bottom of the foot in a fan like pattern to attach to the toes and tendons. Functionally, the fascia is responsible for the longitudinal foot arch, which provides shock absorption and support.
Plantar fasciitis is more likely to occur with increased age, prolonged standing, heel spurs, excessive or improper running mechanics, and poor posture. It is also more common amongst females and those who are suffering from obesity. Symptoms are typically worse with the first steps in the morning or after extended sitting. Pain can be anywhere along the bottom of the foot, but most often is near the inside of the heel. Plantar fasciitis is usually a result of microtrauma to the fascia.
There are other potential causes that may mimic plantar fasciitis or foot pain, but those will not be covered in this brief topic.When your feet become an issue that limit your functionality and quality of life medical evaluation is recommended. As physiatrists at Spine West we focus on the importance of a thorough physical examination and evaluation of the patient to diagnose, treat, and improve their symptoms. We have on site access to diagnostic tools such as ultrasound and x-ray to assist in diagnosis if appropriate. We are experts in directing a treatment plan which may include physical therapy, home exercise, foot orthotics or braces, and appropriate medications.
Written by Christopher Morelli, D.O.