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7 Signs Plantar Fasciitis May Be Causing Your Heel Pain

If you’re experiencing lasting or recurrent heel pain, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis. In fact, plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of such pain. 

Still, there are other causes such as Achilles tendonitis, bone spurs, bone bruises, and stress fractures. Determining the cause of your heel pain is crucial for ensuring proper treatment and lasting relief.

At Oexeman Foot and Ankle, PLLC, in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Stephanie Oexeman and her team diagnose and treat heel pain to help you get back on your feet with ease.

Here’s a closer look at plantar fasciitis, including seven signs it’s at the root of your heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis basics

Plantar fasciitis usually develops when the band of tissue connecting your heel bone and toes, or fascia, gets repeatedly stretched or torn. As this happens, tiny tears can form in the fascia, leading to inflammation. In some cases, there’s no clear cause behind plantar fasciitis. 

Anyone can experience plantar fasciitis, but your risk is heightened if:

  • You’re between ages 40-60
  • You engage in exercise that stresses your heels, such as distance running, ballet, or aerobics
  • You have flat feet or high arches
  • You have a job that keeps you on your feet, such as factor work, hairdressing, or teaching

Carrying excess weight may also raise your risk for plantar fasciitis, especially if you’re obese or gain more than 15 pounds within a few months.

Signs that plantar fasciitis is causing your heel pain

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain, but not the only one. Signs that your pain stems from this condition include:

  1. Your pain brings a stabbing or dull, achy sensation 
  2. Your pain affects the bottom of your foot, near your heel
  3. Your pain seems worse when you take your first steps in the morning
  4. Your pain flares up after long periods of sitting or standing
  5. You have swelling around your heel
  6. ​​You experience Achilles tendon stiffness
  7. There’s no other obvious cause, such as a sudden injury

You might also find that exercise or movement brings temporary relief, followed by more intense pain once you stop. 

Treatment for plantar fasciitis

If Dr. Oexeman diagnoses you with plantar fasciitis, she may recommend a range of treatments. Many people recover within several months of conservative treatment such as special stretches, modified activities, and icing the painful area. 

Your treatment might also include:

  • Custom orthotics
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen
  • Physical therapy
  • Night splints
  • Walking boot or crutches

If your symptoms persist several months later, you may be a good candidate for steroid injections, shock wave therapy, ultrasonic tissue repair, or surgery to detach your plantar fascia from your heel bone. Dr. Oexeman performs both traditional surgeries and minimally invasive procedures for heel pain relief.

To learn more about plantar fasciitis or to get the heel pain treatment you need, call our office or book an appointment online today.