If you’ve ever had plantar fasciitis, a condition that causes significant heel pain, you know how debilitating it is. You have trouble walking more than a few steps, and every time you move, you feel pain. Usually, fasciitis goes away on its own, but if you’ve tried home remedies and your pain has not improved, it’s time to call your Kelowna, BC or Victoria, BC foot doctor.

At Island Foot Clinics, we will do some diagnostic tests to find out whether plantar fasciitis is causing your pain. If so, you might be asked to rest and ice your foot, wear different shoes or special insoles, and stop exercising for the time being. Depending on your situation, you might also need to see a physiotherapist, who can show you appropriate stretches and help you improve your posture.

Ask a Foot Doctor: What Are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

People who suffer from plantar fasciitis almost always experience pain in their heels and the bottom of their feet. This is because the plantar fascia, which is the tissue that connects your heel bones to your toes, has become inflamed. The pain is often described as a stabbing sensation, and some people also have trouble raising their toes off the ground when the foot is flat on the floor.

Pain related to the plantar fascia is usually worst in the morning, so the first few steps are the hardest. While fasciitis gets better throughout the day, you might struggle if you’ve been sitting or lying down for a long time, and you have to start moving again. Sometimes, patients find that excessive exercise makes the pain worse, but this isn’t always the case.

Similar Conditions 

Plantar fasciitis can sometimes go away on its own, especially if you rest your foot and take precautions. However, it’s best to see a doctor if you’ve been in pain for more than two weeks and there are no signs of improvement. A good specialist can examine your foot and let you know whether you really have plantar fasciitis. While this is a common cause of heel pain, it isn’t the only reason why you might be suffering.

Sometimes, the heel hurts because of a rupture in the plantar fascia, which is usually caused by an accident. Another potential cause is sciatica, a painful condition related to the sciatic nerve. A fracture of your heel bone could also cause similar symptoms. Because some of these issues are more severe than fasciitis, seeing a specialist is important.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis? 

Fasciitis doesn’t always have an identifiable cause, but there are certain risk factors that make some people more likely to experience this condition than others. In general, those who put a lot of strain on their feet, for example by jumping or running frequently, are at risk. Additionally, people between 40 and 60 are more likely to be affected than those who are younger or older.

When you see your Kelowna, BC or Victoria, BC foot specialist, they can let you know whether you’re at risk because of your foot shape or because you’re carrying around excess weight. Your doctor might advise you to exercise on soft surfaces, ease your way into a new exercise routine, and frequently stretch out your calf muscles to prevent the condition from occurring in the future.

What Are the Most Common Home Treatments? 

Usually, plantar fasciitis can be treated at home. When the condition is acute, patients are encouraged to avoid excessive exercise, especially on concrete or tarmac, and elevate their feet whenever possible. Taking over-the-counter painkillers might also be necessary, and you can put an ice pack on your heel for 20 minutes every two to three hours to increase the blood flow and speed up healing.

Once you’re somewhat recovered and you’re not in acute pain, you can slowly start to exercise again. Make sure to focus on stretching and lengthening your calves. You can also switch to exercises that don’t tax your feet as much, such as cycling or swimming. If you’re overweight, try to lose some weight by changing your diet, so there is less pressure on your feet.

When to See Your Kelowna, BC or Victoria, BC Specialist

If you don’t feel better after two weeks or you’ve experienced a flare-up multiple times, don’t hesitate to visit a foot doctor. They can analyze your feet, your posture, and your footwear to figure out what the issue is. For example, they might tell you to change your shoes if you tend to wear high heels or tight and pointy shoes.

What’s more, a foot specialist can evaluate whether you need to have custom-made insoles or orthotics. These could be a good idea for anyone who suffers from plantar fasciitis due to their foot shape. If your posture is problematic, your doctor can refer you to a local physio, who will help you improve the way you stand and walk.

Should I Wear Splints and a Night Boot? 

Some special devices can help keep the foot stable and therefore reduce your symptoms and allow your fascia to heal faster. If you tend to extend your feet and shorten the Achilles tendon at night, your doctor might recommend night splints, which keep your foot in a flexed position and stretch the calf. Similarly, you might be asked to wear a walking boot, which can take pressure off your foot. These measures are usually temporary.

Should I Get an Injection? 

People who struggle with long-term plantar fasciitis but aren’t ready to have surgery could consider getting a steroid injection, which temporarily relieves the pain. However, you have to be careful because the injection can weaken your fascia or even cause it to rupture.

Your specialist will evaluate whether an injection could be right for you and, if so, what type of medicine should be administered. Aside from steroids, platelet-rich plasma, a substance derived from your own blood that speeds up healing, is sometimes used. Depending on your situation, your doctor might use ultrasound imaging to determine where to best place the needle.

Do I Need Surgery? 

Some people don’t see their specialist because they’re afraid they will be encouraged to have surgery. But we only operate on your feet when it is truly necessary. Before doing so, we will explore all other options, which might include the above-named treatments as well as holistic approaches, such as changing your routine and habits to encourage weight loss.

Occasionally, patients with plantar fasciitis need to be operated on. This could be the case if you’re in so much pain you can hardly walk or if the condition keeps coming back. The surgery involves cutting a part of the fascia to release the tension and reduce the swelling. While this is an invasive procedure, most people recover within a few weeks. What’s more, the success rate is 90%, so you’re likely to have a great outcome.

Plantar fasciitis is a potentially debilitating condition that occurs when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. Fortunately, fasciitis often heals on its own, and your foot doctor won’t need to operate on you unless you’re in significant pain or the condition doesn’t resolve itself. Call us at Island Foot Clinics in Kelowna, BC or Victoria, BC to book an appointment with one of our foot specialists.