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Plantar fasciitis — arch pain

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Description

The plantar fascia is a thick ligament in the arch of the foot. It runs from the heel bone to the base of the toes. If it gets overstretched, it swells and causes pain. This is called plantar fasciitis.

In some cases, the ligament tears, resulting in severe and immediate pain. If this happens, you won’t be able to put weight on the foot. Elevate the foot and apply an ice pack. And be sure to see a foot specialist as soon as possible.


Causes

Sports like tennis and aerobics can put a lot of tension on the plantar fascia and cause small tears. But even less stressful activities can cause tears. These small tears can lead to the formation of small lumps (fibromas) in the arch of the feet.


Diagnosis

Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed by a physical exam. The doctor will check for areas of tenderness in your foot. X-rays or other imaging tests are usually not necessary.


Treatment

Treatment of plantar fasciitis is similar to the treatment for heel pain. The goal is to keep excessive stretching of the ligament to a minimum.

Treatment may include:

  • Calf muscle stretches
  • Over-the-counter arch supports
  • Custom made shoe inserts (orthotics)
  • Anti-inflammatory medications

Cortisone shots are usually not used in cases of plantar fasciitis.

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