When a patient presents with intense heel or bottom of the foot pain, the first thought could be that they have plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes and helps support the arch in your foot. It is one of the most common sources of heel pain in middle aged adults, but can also develop in younger individuals who may be competitive athletes or whose jobs require prolonged periods on their feet. The plantar fascia can get injured after repetitive strain to the ligament that can cause tiny tears in the fascia. These tiny tears can lead to inflammation and is often what causes the sharp heel pain. There are numerous ways an individual can develop plantar fasciitis. Listed below are common causes and symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
- Walking, standing, or running for prolonged periods
- Walking or running on hard surfaces
- Not wearing proper support shoes
- Recently began a new exercise regiment
- High arched or flat feet
- Excessive pronation when walking
- Tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles
- Being overweight
- Sharp heel pain when weight bearing after prolonged rest
- Limping/toe walking through first initial steps
- Decreased pain throughout the day when light activity is performed
- Achy and dull pain after excessive walking and exercise
- Stiffness or swelling localized in the heel
- Symptoms lessen when the foot is elevated or relaxed
- Pain seems to worsen when walking barefoot or on hard surfaces
Why Should I get the Plantar Fascia Ultrasound?
One of the best ways to investigate the plantar fascia is with an ultrasound, as you are able to visualize the ligament. This allows the physician to see any small tears in the ligament, as well will show if there is any thickness or increased fluid in the plantar fascia area. The ultrasound can help confirm or deny the diagnosis of plantar facilities in order to provide the best treatment plan for you going forward.
The process of the ultrasound is very simple. The ultrasound technician will apply conductive gel to the bottom of your foot and apply a probe to move around the gel in order to get an image of the plantar fascia. The ultrasound will take approximately 30 minutes to perform. There is no preparation needed before this scan. However, you are asked to come early in order to have an adequate amount of time to check in with the front receptionist before your appointment.