Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain
Plantar Fasciitis (PF) means inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of connective tissue that spans the arch of the foot from the calcaneus (heel bone) to the bases of the toes. The function of this tissue is to support the arch and stabilize the foot as the heel comes off the ground during push off. Individuals with true “plantar fasciitis” have pain and tenderness along the entire longitudinal arch and the discomfort is worse at push off.
Heel Pain may be associated with plantar fasciitis but is more frequently seen in isolation. Patients with pain and tenderness localized to just the center or inner aspect of the heel and pain on heel strike are described as having “Heel Pain Syndrome (HPS)”. Although in many instances HPS is likely due to inflammation of the plantar fascia at its attachment to the calcaneus (heel bone), it may also be due to a number of other pain processes. These other possibilities include nerve entrapment, stress fracture, bone inflammation, and bursitis.
An X-ray of the heel is usually taken to see if a bone problem is causing the pain. A heel spur may be identified on X-ray. However, the facts that many people with a spur have no pain and removing the spur often does not relieve the pain casts doubt on its role as a cause of the discomfort.
Because surgery for HPS and plantar fasciitis has inconsistent results, alters normal foot mechanics, and has a significant risk of secondary foot pain, non-operative treatment is recommended. Surgery is considered only as a last resort. Stretching decreases pain in more than 90% of our patients with heel pain.
When stretching, anti-inflammatories, heel cushions, and orthotics do not provide pain relief. Dr. Davis offers an advanced, minimally invasive treatment – enabled by the Tenex Health TX™ technology – to treat chronic plantar lasting 3 months or more.