What can a podiatrist do for my plantar fasciitis?
Posted on 23rd January 2019 at 11:16
If you have tried supportive footwear and gentle stretching with no success, then it is time to see a podiatrist.
A podiatrist will take a medical history and ask you what treatments you have tried. They may recommend that you undergo a biomechanical assessment.
This comprises of a clinical examination and gait analysis. Combined these elements build up a picture of how your body works dynamically. It is this dynamic movements that can contribute to repetitive stretching of the plantar fascia.
Common physical causes are flat feet, high arches, obesity, flexible feet, leg length differences, overexertion, tight calf muscles, tight hamstrings and calf muscles combined. This is by no means an exhaustive list and the range of treatments are equally varied. This is why it is worth seeing a podiatrist rather than trying this and that. Also, a podiatrist will be able to assess if you do not have plantar fasciitis and steer you in the direction for further tests of a differential diagnosis.
Depending on the cause and whether you have the condition in one or both feet your treatment plan may involve further stretching and strengthening exercises, strapping, a heel lift, insoles, orthotics or a combination of these.
In a small number of people, especially those who have had plantar fasciitis for a long time before seeking treatment, specialised treatment may be necessary to reduce inflammation and allow healing to begin. Examples of these are ultrasound, steroid injections, shock wave therapy.
Occasionally due to the deterioration of the plantar fascia there is no alternative and surgery is the only option. In one procedure an ultrasound is used to allow the surgeon to remove scar tissue. This option leaves a small scar and you should be active as normal after 10 days. The last resort procedure separates the fascia from the bone and you will need to wear an air cast boot for several weeks. This option will require the patient to wear supportive orthotics for life to support the foot where the plantar fascia cannot.
The key points to treating Plantar Fasciitis
• Act quickly
• Address footwear indoors and outdoors
• Take or apply anti-inflammatories
• Stretch the calf muscles
• Seek help from a podiatrist
• BE PATIENT
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