Plantar Fasciitis: Diagnosis and Treatment

plantar fascia treatment

Plantar fasciitis is a foot problem that is associated with the inflammation of the plantar fascia– a tough band of tissue that runs from the heel bone to the base of the toes.  It is usually caused when you overuse or put too much stress on your feet. Plantar fasciitis is quite common, particularly among athletes. With proper treatment, the problem should go away within a few months. However, to speed up the recovery process and rule out injuries that could be causing you pain, it is imperative for you to seek the attention of a podiatrist. A reliable expert can help you with diagnosing and managing the condition for you to be free from foot pain again.

Around 1 in 10 people will develop plantar fasciitis at some point throughout their life.

The plantar fascia is the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. When this tissue becomes swollen or inflamed, it is called plantar fasciitis. Approximately 2 million people are treated for this condition every year in the United Sates.

Prevention is the best way to treat plantar fasciitis. This means to avoid overusing and abusing your feet. Some common tips to prevent the condition include stretching before exercise, allowing your feet time to rest and recover after intense activity or exercise, and wearing supportive shoes when exercising. And don’t forget to replace your exercise shoes about every six to nine months.

Pain is the main symptom of plantar fasciitis. The pain is generally the worst the first thing in the morning or when you get up after sitting for a long period of time. The pain can subside when you walk around a bit, but will generally return at the end of the day, especially if you spend a considerable part of it on your feet. One of the main causes of plantar fasciitis is the result from high foot impact activities like running. It can also be the result of long periods of standing. People who are over-weight or flat-footed are more susceptible to the condition. It is also more common in older people, because the plantar fascia loses its elasticity with age, making it more vulnerable to injury.

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Your podiatrist is going to critically examine your foot to pinpoint the origin of your pain. This physical exam and your medical history will go a long way in helping the podiatrist to diagnose the condition. In some cases, your doctor may choose to conduct imaging tests such as X-ray, MRI, or a CT scan to determine if the pain is being caused by issues such as a pinched nerve or a broken bone.


After being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, there are several options that your podiatrist can try to reduce inflammation and ease your pain. Some of the treatments and therapies that your doctor can recommend include:


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can go a long way in helping you to reduce inflammation and pain in the plantar fascia. Your podiatrist can prescribe several doses to be taken daily over a period of several weeks.

Steroid Injections

If the pain in your foot is severe and it does not seem to go away with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, then you may have to go in for a steroid injection. When a steroid is injected into the painful part of the plantar fascia, it can keep the pain away for about a month. The inflammation can remain low for longer than a month.

Physical Therapy

If medication does not seem to offer adequate relief from plantar fasciitis, then your doctor may send you to a physical therapist. Here, you are going to learn about the various physical exercises such as stretches that can help with strengthening the plantar fascia, lower leg muscles, and Achilles tendons. The physical therapist can also use contrast baths, massage, and ultrasonography to facilitate long-term healing.

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Shockwave Therapy

This has to do with the use of sound waves to shock the plantar fascia. The treatment works by stimulating the flow of blood in the foot, which helps the tissues to heal. The procedure is also known to stun the nerves in order to stop the pain.

The Takeaway

Overall, it is apparent that plantar fasciitis is quite a common foot issue. Luckily, this is a problem that can be treated. Therefore, if you are suffering from occasional or contact pain and inflammation from plantar fasciitis, you can seek the assistance of a podiatrist for temporary and even permanent relief. If you are looking for a reliable podiatrist in New York to help you with plantar fasciitis, The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine is an excellent facility to choose. Contact them today for more information about diagnosing and treating plantar fasciitis.

Jonathan M. Levy, DPM, FACFAS, FACPM

Dr. Levy has a long history with sports and has competed/participated in multiple sports including skiing, football, wrestling, gymnastics and baseball. He currently competes in triathlons. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine and a fellow of the American college of foot and ankle orthopedics and medicine.  He is on staff at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan and at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. His mission is to serve you by providing friendly, fast & ultimately the best treatment options available for your foot & ankle pain.

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