How Does a Doctor Diagnose Plantar Fasciitis?
If you experience foot pain, it is crucial to promptly have it diagnosed and treated. Failing to address foot pain in a timely manner can result in chronic discomfort, and potentially give rise to complications like heel spurs or pinched nerves in the heel. Seeking early intervention is key to preventing these issues from worsening.
During your appointment, your doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination of your foot, carefully assessing for any areas of tenderness and the specific location of your pain. In addition, they may utilize imaging techniques like X-ray or ultrasound to further investigate and identify the underlying cause of your discomfort. This comprehensive evaluation will provide valuable insights to guide your treatment plan effectively.
In addition, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can be conducted to examine the tissue and bone structure in your heel, enabling a thorough assessment of any potential issues such as stress fractures or other abnormalities.
You will probably need to stay off your feet as much as possible while you are waiting for the pain to go away, and they may prescribe ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) to help reduce inflammation. They may also suggest a corticosteroid injection into the damaged section of your plantar fascia to relieve pain and promote healing.
The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis are pain in your heel that usually gets worse with activity or after a long period of rest. It can also be accompanied by a burning, tingling, or numbness sensation in your foot that is felt when you walk or bend your ankle.
Most people who have plantar fasciitis improve with treatment that includes icing and stretching, and using special devices such as orthotics. They can also try low-impact exercise that puts less stress on their feet and legs, such as swimming or cycling.
Some doctors recommend wearing special shoes with extra support for your heels. You can find these in specialty stores or by searching online.
If the symptoms of plantar fasciitis do not improve with nonsurgical treatments, your doctor might recommend a minimally invasive treatment called ultrasonic tissue repair. This technology uses ultrasound imaging to guide a needlelike probe into the damaged tissue in your heel. The probe tip then vibrates to break up and suction out the damaged tissues.
Often, this minimally invasive treatment is more effective than a corticosteroid injection. This procedure is not as invasive as surgery, and it can be performed with a minimal incision and local anesthesia.
Many people with plantar fasciitis respond to a combination of treatment, such as ice, braces, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy. These treatments can last for several months, but they are usually effective in relieving the pain.
Other treatments, such as steroid shots or percutaneous needle tenotomy, may be used to treat severe cases of plantar fasciitis. These procedures are generally only done if other treatments have failed or you have significant pain in your foot.
Self-management tips can also be helpful. If you have a shoe that does not provide adequate support, talk to your doctor about switching to a pair with better arch support. If you are overweight, lose weight to lessen the strain on your feet.
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