Dr. Justin Colanese, an orthopedic surgeon with Memorial's Orthopedic and Neurosciences Center, explains what plantar fasciitis is and how pain can be alleviated.
What is plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue on the bottom of your foot that inserts near the calcaneus, the heel bone. Plantar fasciitis is a condition where that tissue can sometimes become degenerative and almost pull off the bone. Histologically, if you look at it through a microscope, the tissue is disorganized, and so it's painful. Usually, it hurts the first steps you take in the morning and when you first get up off of a chair. Generally, you can walk off the pain to some extent, but it's a condition that can definitely be aggravating. It can last for years sometimes before it gets better.
How can plantar fasciitis pain be alleviated?
First line treatments would usually be using gel foot cups and stretching both the achilles tendon and the plantar fascia. If those don't work, there's different types of injections that can be done. Sometimes the boot or a cast can be useful treatment. There is a surgery to release the plantar fascia that would be reserved for a very small amount of the population who don't get better.