Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of connective tissue that connects our heel bone to the ball of our foot (forefoot). Plantar fasciitis typically causes sharp stabbing heel pain, especially in the morning. It can occur from a sudden high-impact activity or long-term overuse. It is common for individuals to ignore the heel pain at its initial stages and only seek help months later.
Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed based on the presenting symptoms and also through diagnostic ultrasound imaging. Imaging is essential to rule out any plantar fascia tears, which many are undetected.
The plantar fascia’s function is to hold our heel and forefoot together to support the arch and stabilise the foot during standing or walking. When we stand or walk, our body weight on the foot stretches and compresses the plantar fascia repetitively.
Over time, the repeated impact causes micro-tears in the plantar fascia, resulting in inflammation and pain in the heel. If untreated, scar tissue layers will form and degenerate the plantar fascia, resulting in a chronic inflamed plantar fascia.
The risk factors of plantar fasciitis include:
A holistic plantar fasciitis management plan should address the inflamed plantar fascia and the underlying cause of the heel pain.
Management options for plantar fasciitis in Singapore include:
Severe cases like a complete plantar fascia tear may require surgery. We generally do not recommend steroid injections as they increase the risk of a plantar fascia tear.1
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Many other conditions can cause heel pain. Hence, diagnosis is the key to receiving effective heel pain treatment. Your medical professional should assess you carefully to ensure that the diagnosis is correct.
Other possible diagnoses of heel pain include:
If you have received heel pain treatment in the past and it is not working, you should have your condition re-evaluated.
Yes, you can have the condition on both feet if both heels are under too much stress over time. Most people will develop the condition on one foot before the other suffers. Therefore, seeking medical attention and treatment early is essential to prevent further injuries.
Insoles help reduce the plantar fascia stress and tension by supporting the heel and the arch. They can also provide a high level of cushioning to minimise impact from the ground when standing or walking. Custom insoles can provide more significant benefits as the insoles are designed specifically for your feet and your condition.
Numbness and tingling are neurological symptoms. Plantar fasciitis generally does not cause any numbness or tingling in the foot. If you are suffering from heel pain with numbness and tingling, you may be suffering from Baxter’s Nerve Entrapment instead.
Diagnostic ultrasound imaging can provide greater accuracy in diagnosing your heel pain condition.
Massage may provide temporary relief for your heel pain. It can help improve circulation and relieve muscle fatigue. However, the effect is short-lived, so if you have suffered heel pain for some time, seeking proper medical attention and advice is better.
Yes, most definitely. As with many other musculoskeletal injuries, the condition can recur if the root cause is not correctly addressed. Therefore, the best plantar fasciitis treatment should involve addressing the damage and the root cause.