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Your Aching Heel! Some Facts About Plantar Fasciitis

Basketball Player | Atlanta PodiatryPlantar fasciitis is a an injury that occurs most often in sports that involve lots of running and jumping, like basketball. The plantar fascia is a tissue that runs from the heel and divides to attach to the base of the toes. It supports the arch. When this tissue is put under continuous stress, it can become inflamed. More than this, the condition is often accompanied by a bit of bone called a heel spur that grows over the heelbone, or the calcaneus, which leads to even more discomfort.

The Symptoms

The symptoms of this injury are pain on the underside of the heel which is often at its worst in the morning. Interestingly, the pain can stop during exercise or sports activity but then resume when the exercise stops or after a long rest. If a heel spur accompanies the inflammation, the sufferer might also feel a grinding or a clicking sensation. Our doctors at the Heel Pain Center of Atlanta can diagnose both the inflammation and the heel spur if there is one using X-rays. If left untreated, plantar faciitis will only worsen and can make it difficult for a person to walk.

Treatment

Plantar fasciitis can be eased by applying ice to the area to reduce the swelling and inflammation. Then, a heat compress can be applied to stimulate the blood flow. To ease further pain, our doctors at the Heel Pain Center of Atlanta can also prescribe pain medication and recommend supports like heel cups, tape, walking casts and night splints that can lessen the stress on the heel and promote healing. If the pain doesn’t respond to oral painkillers, the physician might give the patient an injection of corticosteroids. Surgery is a last resort and is used only after the pain has persisted for six months to a year. Whether or not surgery is needed, the patient might be referred to a physical therapist.

Among the methods a physical therapist might use to ease plantar fasciitis are:

  • Electrotherapy
  • Soft tissue massage, including use of a golf ball that’s used under the arch of the foot to strengthen it.
  • Deep water pool running if the patient is athletic.

Residents of the Atlanta area who suspect that the pain in their heel might be due to plantar fasciitis should get in touch with the Heel Pain Center of Atlanta, a specialty center of American Foot and Leg Specialists, for a consultation.