Plantar Fasciitis Health (cont.)

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Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

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Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain and tenderness of the bottom (sole) of the foot. This can lead to difficulty in weight-bearing on the involved foot, making it difficult to walk, especially the first steps after awakening from sleep. The pain is burning, often sharp, and can be severe. Plantar fasciitis is sometimes also associated with warmth and swelling of the bottom of the foot. The symptoms may come on gradually or appear following an athletic activity.

When to Seek Medical Care

Anyone with persistent foot pain should seek medical evaluation. Chronic foot pain can be due to arthritis or a bone fracture. Plantar fasciitis can be treated and function restored.

Exams and Tests

The key to proper diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is the examination by the doctor. Typically, there is tenderness of the bottom of the inner heel at the point of attachment of the plantar fascia. X-rays may be obtained to rule out bone fracture or arthritis. Moreover, some patients with chronic plantar fasciitis can develop bone spurs on the bottom of the heel bone that can be visualized with X-ray testing.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

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ibuprofen or injections of cortisone are often helpful. Orthotic devices or shoe inserts are used to take pressure off plantar spurs (donut-shaped insert), and heel lifts can reduce stress on the Achilles tendon to relieve painful spurs at the back of the heel. Similarly, sports running shoes with their soft, cushioned soles can be helpful in reducing irritation of inflamed tissues from both plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Stressful athletic activities should be avoided. Physical therapy is sometimes used as an additional treatment. Infrequently, surgery is performed on chronically inflamed spurs.

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