How Do Sports Physician Doctors Treat Plantar Fasciitis?



What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition in which the connective tissue that protects the arch of the foot becomes inflamed. It causes discomfort in the heel and bottom of the foot, which is typically worse first thing in the morning or after a period of rest. Bending the foot and toes up towards the shin is also a common cause of pain. In around one-third of cases, the pain develops progressively and affects both feet.



The discomfort is usually felt on the inside edge of the heel and is aggravated by taking the first move in the morning. The pain will usually improve with movement, but it will return after periods of rest (sleeping or sitting for long periods). Excessive weight bearing movements, as well as walking barefoot or in shoes without arch support, are all known to cause discomfort (like flip flops or sandals). Plantar fasciitis pain is not usually associated with a pop or bruising on the underside of the foot, nor does it wake you up at night. A plantar fascia breakup or a stress fracture in the heel may cause these symptoms.


Treatments that can be done by Sports Physician Doctors

Stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as the use of special equipment, will help to alleviate symptoms. They are as follows:

  • Physical Therapy – A physical therapist will teach you how to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon while also strengthening the lower leg muscles. A therapist can even show you how to help the bottom of your foot with athletic tape.
  • Night splints – A splint that stretches your calf and arch of your foot when you sleep might be recommended by your physical therapist or doctor. To encourage stretching, this keeps the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight.
  • Orthotics – To help distribute pressure to your feet more evenly, your doctor may prescribe off-the-shelf or custom-fitted arch supports (orthotics).
  • Medication – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will relieve the pain and reduce plantar fascia inflammation. For several weeks, your doctor can prescribe several doses each day.
  • Steroid injection – If your pain is serious or not responding to NSAIDs, you may want to consider having a steroid injection. The steroid is inserted into the area of your plantar fascia that is the most painful. It may relieve the pain for a month or so, but it will hold the inflammation at bay for much longer.


Surgical and other procedures


  • Shock-wave therapy – The sound waves literally “shock” your plantar fascia. It increases blood flow to the foot and aids tissue healing. It also paralyzes the muscles to relieve pain.
  • Ultrasonic tissue repair – A needlelike probe is guided into the weakened plantar fascia tissue using ultrasound imaging. The probe tip vibrates rapidly with ultrasound energy to break up the weakened tissue, which is then suctioned out.
  • Surgery – Just a small percentage of people need surgery to separate the plantar fascia from the heel bone. It is usually used only when other therapies have failed and the pain is intense. It can be performed as an open procedure or with local anesthesia by a small incision.



Are You Looking for a Sports Medicine Physician to Treat Your Plantar Fasciitis?

As you know, the plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.  Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of this tissue, which can cause a stabbing pain usually felt at the heel.  Dr. Chen sees patients with plantar fasciitis at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine in Walnut Creek, California. He is a board-certified Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Doctor that specializes in the non-operative medical treatment of a wide variety of various musculoskeletal conditions.  Dr. Chen graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine and went on to complete Pediatric residency training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey (Rutgers), then went on to fellowship training in Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one of the perennially top-ranked children’s hospitals in the nation. There he provided sideline coverage for NCAA Division I athletics at the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (OH). Being a part of The Center for Sports Medicine allows Dr. Chen quick access to a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, physiatrists, and physical therapists to return you to your highest functional level quickly and safely. Click here to contact us for your next appointment!



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