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Plantar Fasciitis: Separating Fact from Fiction

Plantar Fasciitis

FICTION: The plantar fascia is a muscle on the bottom of the foot.
FACT: It’s not a muscle – although it is, indeed, located on the bottom of the foot. It’s actually a ligament – a thick, fibrous band of tissue that supports and stabilizes your arch.

FICTION: You get plantar fasciitis only if you have flat feet.
FACT: People with flat feet may develop plantar fasciitis, but it’s not a given. And there are plenty of other anatomical conditions that can set you up for inflammation of the plantar fascia—for example, having high arches. You’re also more at risk for plantar fasciitis if you’ve got a tight Achilles tendon.

FICTION: Heel spurs cause plantar fasciitis.
FACT: Heel spurs, or outgrowths of bone, may develop over time as a result of several different things: high-impact sports, standing for long periods on the job, or putting excess pressure on the heels because you’ve gained weight. Spurs can make plantar fasciitis worse by digging into the surrounding tissue and increasing inflammation of the plantar fascia.

FICTION: To cure plantar fasciitis, just stay off your feet for a while.
FACT: Rest will absolutely help reduce inflammation, but it’s rarely the only cure. More often, attacking the problem in several different ways will work best. Some of the best include wearing custom orthotics, rolling your foot over a frozen water bottle, performing calf massage and stretching, over-the-counter or prescription-strength anti-inflammatory medication, wearing a splint at night, and switching to more supportive shoes.

FICTION: If it’s heel pain, it must be plantar fasciitis.
FACT: Plantar fasciitis is only one cause of heel pain. Others include bursitis, an inflamed nerve, arthritis, a fractured calcaneus bone, degeneration of the heel’s fat pad, and Achilles tendonitis.

Our experienced podiatric surgeons, Dr. Craig B. Frey, Dr. Megan L. Oltmann, and Dr. Jim Swienconek, can help you avoid chronic heel pain. The trick is to act quickly and visit us as soon as the pain starts. Call Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland in Solon, Ohio at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We offer a modern office with the latest technology for podiatric patients in Portage, Geauga, Cuyahoga, and Summit Counties, proudly serving our patients from Solon, Aurora, Bedford, Chagrin Falls, Hudson, Macedonia, and Twinsburg.