Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spur Syndrome

Plantar fasciitis is the term commonly used to refer to heel and arch pain traced to an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. More specifically, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the connective tissue, called plantar fascia, that stretches from the base of the toes, across the arch of the foot, to the point at which it inserts into the heel bone. Overpronation or over stretching of the fascia is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis. As the foot rolls inward excessively when walking, it flattens the foot, lengthens the arch, and puts added tension on the plantar fascia. It has been found on ultra microscopy that when this occurs, there are "micro tears" found in the fascia. This is where the inflammation comes from. If the fasciitis is not treated, the next thing to happen is a tearing away of the fascia from its attachment to the heel bone. When this happens, then the pain is most acute in the morning on arising. This is a progressive problem which is not treated at this point leads to formation of a heel spur. When this occurs, the pain in the heel is constant.

In most cases, this condition can be treated conservatively. This includes medication to reduce the inflammation, taping the foot to provide support until the fascia heels and then orthotics. In cases where there is a very large spur and conservative treatment fails, we have developed a minimally invasive surgical procedure at the Ford Center for Foot Surgery to relieve the problem.