The plantar fascia is the thick fibrous ligament that supports the arch of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. Plantar fasciitis is a common condition in which the plantar fascia becomes strained and inflamed, causing discomfort and heel pain. Sufferers of plantar fasciitis complain of a sharp stabbing pain in their heel upon taking their first steps in the morning. Once the foot warms up following daily activity, the pain reduces, however it returns after extended periods of standing or inactivity. Plantar Fasciitis commonly afflicts runners, pregnant women and individuals without proper shoe support.
Bracing is commonly used to treat plantar fasciitis. Typical forms of bracing recommended by Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine include a night splint, which immobilizes the plantar fascia as the patient sleeps, and/or a CAM walker boot, which allows for the maintenance of stability while the patient walks. Small shoe inserts called orthotics are also often prescribed to reduce the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. These inserts aid in the even distribution of pressure of the foot.
Cortisone medication may be prescribed by Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in either a topical form or as an injection. Corticosteroids are helpful in reducing pain and inflammation.
Physical therapy is an effective treatment option for plantar fasciitis. This treatment is used to exercise and stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon to strengthen the leg muscles. Continued physical therapy will eventually stabilize the ankle and heel to permanently reduce pain.
Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelets found in blood are the body’s natural growth factors. Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy as either a post-surgery treatment to accelerate the healing process or on its own. Platelet-rich plasma taken from the blood is injected into the inflamed plantar fascia. Once injected the PRP releases potent bioactive proteins that enhance the healing process. As a result, stem cells are recruited to the area causing mild inflammation while jump-starting the body’s natural response to heal. The PRP injection site can take up to a month to heal after the initial injection.
In certain circumstances, when more conservative treatment approaches are ineffective Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine offers plantar fasciotomy, a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure used to provide fascia tendon relief.