Arizona is known for its beautiful weather and this year is no different.
More people are heading outdoors to walk, run, hike and play sports.
These are all great ways to stay in shape, but when an injury occurs, finding relief is at the top of most people’s list.
One condition that OrthoArizona foot and ankle specialist Dr. Parisa Morris sees a lot of is plantar fasciitis.
“Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia located on the bottom of the foot,” Morris said. “This is one of the most common causes of heel pain.”
Besides heel pain, some other symptoms someone might experience when they have plantar fasciitis can include swelling and tightness of the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon or calf muscles.
“The most common thing I hear is it feels like a nail is shooting up their foot,” Morris said. “The pain is usually immediate upon putting weight on the foot and it can be a dull aching feeling throughout the day.”
While anyone can get plantar fasciitis, people more prone to getting the condition are those who spend a lot of time on their feet, runners and overweight individuals.
“The longer the condition is present without treatment, the longer it will take to get better,” Morris said. “The good news is 90 percent of people will get better with non-operative treatments.”
“However, it’s important to understand that resolving this issue fully can take six to 12 months,” Morris continued.
The doctor is able to diagnose the condition by doing a thorough physical exam in her office and X-rays.
“Once we determine it’s plantar fasciitis, we go forward with the basic treatment of stretching,” Morris said.
Stretching can be done at home or with a physical therapist.
“The studies have found that by doing two basic stretches, one focusing on the calf and the other focusing on the plantar fascia, is the best way to treat this condition,” Morris said.
The doctor demonstrated the stretches in two different videos.
“They do the two stretches at least three to five times a day,” Morris said. “It can seem like a lot and they might even have an increase in pain initially, but the key to getting it under control is being consistent and making sure you’re doing it multiple times a day.”
If symptoms continue even after doing the stretching exercises, Morris recommends incorporating a heel insert, boot or steroid injection.
“We will consider a steroid injection, but that is usually a rare situation,” Morris said. “There is a risk the injection could weaken and rupture the plantar fascia.”
Morris keeps a close eye on all of her patients’ progress.
“I typically see people back every few months to make sure things improve and add treatment as needed,” Morris said. “Surgery is an option, but not typically considered until at least 12 months of aggressive treatment.”
Now treating your plantar fasciitis non-operatively doesn’t mean you have to cut off all of your extracurricular activities.
“I recommend anything in the pool like water aerobics, the elliptical and riding bikes,” Morris said.
How do you know when to go see the doctor? Morris said if rest and anti-inflammatories are not working and the pain lasts more than two weeks.
If you are in need of a doctor, make an appointment request with one of OrthoArizona’s five foot and ankle specialists at https://orthoarizona.org/foot-ankle/