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Plantar Fasciitis in New Jersey

Inflammation and irritation of the connective tissue between your heel and forefoot is called plantar fasciitis. Performance Rehabilitation, located in Totowa and Lafayette Township, offers treatments for plantar fasciitis to the residents of New Jersey.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of both feet and connects your heels to your toes. When this thick band of tissue becomes irritated and inflamed, it can lead to the medical condition known as plantar fasciitis. This inflammation is most often noticed when a person has a shooting pain through the foot when taking the first step out of bed in the morning.

Plantar fasciitis pain typically goes away once the patient’s feet are warmed up, and after the person moves around some. The discomfort may return after long periods of standing or sitting throughout the day. Plantar fasciitis is most commonly found in runners and other athletes, but there is also a risk to patients that are overweight and those that wear shoes that do not adequately support their feet. Avid runners should regularly check the wear and tear of their running shoes and may need to purchase new ones every 3 months.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a very important bundle of tissue that acts as a shock absorber for the foot. These tissues are almost shaped like a bowstring and help support the shape and strength of the foot’s arch. When the “string” is under too much pressure, then small tears may begin to take place. Over time, these tears can become worse and eventually inflame and damage the plantar fascia.

You are more likely to get plantar fasciitis if you:

  • Run on uneven ground or for long distances
  • Gain weight suddenly or remain obese for a period of time
  • Have a tight Achilles tendon
  • Have foot arch problems- joint/biomechanical dysfunction
  • Wear shoes without adequate arch support

What are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

The first symptom that patients will recognize is pain and stiffness in the bottom of the foot, especially when the feet are cold. This pain is sharp for some patients and a dull throb for others. Within the first few minutes of waking, the pain can become worse with each step. After a few minutes of walking, however, the pain typically lessens.

The pain is often worse:

  • When climbing stairs
  • In the morning
  • After intense physical activity
  • After sitting or standing still for a long period of time

What are the Factors that Increase the Chances of Developing Plantar Fasciitis?

Factors that may increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis include:

  • Certain types of exercise: Any activity that puts long-term pressure on the plantar fascia or extreme amounts of pressure in a short period of time can result in plantar fasciitis. This may include long distance runners, ballet dancers, and soccer players.
  • Age: This condition typically develops between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Obesity: Any excess weight will put a strain on plantar fascia.
  • Occupations: Employees that are forced to be on their feet for long periods of time or walk around on a hard surface all day can develop this condition. Some of the most common at-risk occupations include teachers and factory workers.
  • Faulty foot mechanics: Those that have flat feet, particular high arches, or an uneven gate will often put extra pressure on their plantar fascia.

How is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?

During the initial appointment, our physical therapists will carefully inspect your foot and look for signs of tenderness, assessment of foot and ankle joint mobility, shortened muscles (Achilles tendon), and limited mobility of the plantar fascia.

Imaging Tests

The initial physical exam is often enough to make an accurate diagnosis, but your physician may suggest an X-ray or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) if we are not able to rule out some other common conditions. Similar pain can be caused by a hairline fracture or pinched nerve. In some cases, an x-ray will show a spur of bone projecting from the patient’s heel. For many years, these bone spurs were removed and deemed the primary cause of pain, but modern research shows that many patients have bone spurs with no discomfort at all.

Living with plantar fasciitis can be difficult, as the pain associated with the condition can greatly reduce your ability to walk. If you believe that you have plantar fasciitis, contact us to schedule a personal consultation with one of our physical therapists at Performance Rehabilitation, located in Totowa or Lafayette Township in New Jersey.