Prior to joining Sports Occupational & Knee Surgery in 2008, she performed over 2000 podiatry procedures. As a respected and experienced podiatrist that can effectively diagnose and treat your needs whether it is ankle and joint pain, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, toenail fungus or other foot and ankle ailments; Dr. McCarty strives to deliver quality podiatry care to informed patients in our comfortable and convenient offices.
Dr. Kathren McCarty combines knowledgeable and honest care with the most advanced technology in the Greater San Antonio region to treat patients with plantar fasciitis in San Antonio, TX. Healthy, happy feet are only a click or call away. Call Dr. Kathren McCarty at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery today for a consultation appointment; (210) 696-9000
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis or heel-spur syndrome is a common problem. It starts as a dull intermittent pain in the heel which may progress to a sharp persistent pain. Classically, it is worse in the morning with the first few steps or when standing after a period of rest. These symptoms may vary.
What Is The Plantar Fascia?
The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous material on the bottom of the foot. Tension across the inflexible plantar fascia (such as in running) causes an overload that produces inflammation and pain usually at the point where the fascia is attached to the heel bone.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a thick, weblike ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. It acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot, helping you walk. This ligament is in the shape of a bowstring. If we place too much stress and tension on the bowstring, small tears can develop in the fascia. Repeated stretching and tearing in this way then inflames the fascia.
In some cases, the cause can’t be pinpointed, but there are many risk factors for developing the pain associated with plantar fasciitis:
- Age — Plantar fasciitis isn’t something young feet develop. It is most common in people aged 40 to 60.
- Activity — It is more common in active people, especially runners, ballet dancers, and aerobics instructors. Any activities that place a lot of stress on the heel and the attached plantar fascia increase risk.
- Foot mechanics — People with high arches, flat feet, or even an abnormal gait can develop plantar fasciitis because of the way their weight is distributed when standing.
- Obesity — The extra pounds place more stress on your plantar fascia.
- Occupations where you are on your feet — Factory workers, teachers, flight attendants, retail clerks, and other occupations where the person is on their feet most of the time, especially on hard surfaces, increases the risk.
Plantar Fasciitis And Heel Spurs
Plantar fasciitis may occur with or without a heel spur. The heel spurs do not cause the heel pain and they are not the initial cause of the problem.
What Happens If Plantar Fasciitis Is Left Untreated?
Since it is difficult to rest the foot, the problem gradually becomes worse because the condition is aggravated with every step. Plantar fascia injury may also occur at midsole or near the toes.
What happens if conservative treatment for plantar fasciitis fails?
The first approaches used by Dr. McCarty at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery are always conservative treatments. Surgery is rarely needed with plantar fasciitis, but it can be necessary for some patients. If our conservative approaches are not working or are even exacerbating the patient’s pain, surgery could be necessary. This would typically only be explored if severe pain lasts at least 6 to 12 months.
The surgery is known as plantar fascia release. In this procedure, Dr. McCarty partially detaches the plantar fascia from the heel bone. This reduces the tension on the ligament, but it also weakens the arch of the foot, and may impact function.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options
Improvement may take longer than expected, especially if the condition has been present for a long time. To aid recovery, loss of excess weight, good shoes and sedentary activities all help the injury to heal. You should return to full activity gradually.
If your foot is too painful, rest it and ice the area. Anti-inflammatory medicines, orthotics, physical therapy, night splints, taping, and heel pads may all also relieve pain and reduce inflammation. If no pain relief has occurred after two or three months, however, an injection of either cortisone and/or local anesthetic directly into the tender area may be considered. Surgical treatment of plantar fasciitis is rarely needed. It would be considered only if all forms of conservative treatment fail and if the pain is still incapacitating after treatment. Recovery from plantar fasciotomy often requires about 2 weeks of limited activity. Walking with an orthotic and physical therapy is also used postoperatively.
The professional staff at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery in San Antonio, Texas along with Dr. McCarty, will evaluate your personal injury and will follow you through to your full recovery, ensuring your health and prevention of future injury.
What can I do to prevent plantar fasciitis from developing?
Making a few lifestyle changes or purchase decisions can help you avoid ever developing plantar fasciitis.
Buy good shoes that have good arch support and provide overall foot support. While you may be drawn to stylish shoes that have virtually no support, they shouldn’t be your go-to shoes when active. If you’re a runner, you should be replacing your shoes every 400 to 500 miles.
Incorporate low-impact exercises into your routine. If you’ve only been a runner or aerobics class participant, try adding bicycling or swimming to your activities, giving your feet a break. If you are a runner, don’t overdo frequency, as your plantar fascia need to rest, especially if you’ve created micro tears in the tissue. Always stretch prior to exercising.
Get to and maintain a healthy weight. This isn’t just good for your plantar fascia — your hips and knees, along with your overall health, will all benefit.
Should I stay off my feet if I have plantar fasciitis?
Rest is the most important aspect of getting past plantar fasciitis. It’s important to stay off your feet and to apply ice to them for 15-20 minutes three or four times every day. This reduces swelling and inflammation.
How can I stay active if I have plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis can be quite painful, but to overcome it you don’t want to become a couch potato either. The best idea, especially if your condition developed from running or other impact exercises, is to change things up. Instead of only running, take up non-impact exercise options such as bicycling or swimming.
Also, improve your footwear. Don’t keep shoes longer than the 400 to 500 miles mentioned above. Ask Dr. McCarty about special orthotics for your shoes. They can help distribute the pressure on the plantar fascia. You can also ask about a boot cast, which immobilizes your foot and reduces strain while your plantar fasciitis resolves.
Also, Dr. McCarty may recommend physical therapy. The stretching and positions used and taught in your PT can help you reduce the stress you’re putting on your plantar fascia moving forward.
Schedule A Consultation
Dr. Peter Holmes and his professional staff at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery in San Antonio, TX will help guide you towards the best treatment for you and will follow you through to full recovery. Call (210) 696-9000 today for a plantar fasciitis appointment at either our San Antonio or Schertz location.