A feet physician’s technical name is a podiatrist because he or she deals with problems of the foot or ankle. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes and supports the foot’s arch. If this ligament is strained, it will cause pain in the heel or bottom of the foot. It can be caused by excessive pronation, being overweight, having high arches or flat feet, or ill-fitting shoes.
The doctor will most likely initially recommend that the feet are rested by avoiding excessive walking or other activities that hurt the heel. The heel should be iced and an anti-inflammatory medication could help as well. The podiatrist will also recommend shoes that support the arch correctly or orthotics that will help cushion the heel. He or she will also advise you to put shoes on rather than going barefoot or wearing slippers. Inappropriate footwear usually makes the pain much worse. The doctor can also demonstrate calf and toe stretches that will help the ligament become more flexible.
If the initial treatment recommendations don’t appear to work after about six weeks, the podiatrist may prescribe custom-made orthotics. These will be more effective than nonprescription, especially if the foot is unusually shaped. A night splint may also be used to keep the foot at a 90-degree angle. This keeps the plantar fascia stretched. A walking cast may be needed to force the foot to stay rested. Physical therapy may be recommended to ensure the ligament is properly and regularly stretched.
If the previous treatments are still unsuccessful at relieving plantar fasciitis pain, corticosteroid shots may be used. These shots provide short-term pain relief. It is not usually recommended that these shots are given often because of the painful nature of the shots and the damage they can cause to the heel and plantar fascia. Occasionally, a severe case may require surgery if symptoms don’t improve in six to twelve months. This surgery would involve cutting part of the ligament to release the tension and inflammation on the ligament. A feet physician in your area will know the best treatment for your case.