Understanding the Basics Behind Plantar Fasciitis
What is Plantar Fasciitis Management?
One of the most common sources of foot and heel pain is plantar fasciitis, and it can substantially limit your ability to perform daily tasks or participate in the activities you love.
Plantar fasciitis is characterized by a sharp, stabbing pain that shoots from your heel across the bottom of your foot. Oftentimes, this pain worsens throughout the day as you stay on your feet.
Though most people can be treated for plantar fasciitis without surgery, ignoring the issue can lead to further complications. In some cases, this issue can cause patients to change the way they walk, which can lead to other foot, ankle, hip, and leg issues. The providers at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance are adept at plantar fasciitis management and can perform a number of treatments to correct the issue.
Our expert orthopedic foot and ankle physicians at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance have the knowledge required to treat numerous issues, both surgically and non-surgically. When you visit a specialist at KCOA, we focus on creating a treatment plan based on your specific conditions, symptoms, and recovery goals.
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance Foot & Ankle Injuries Assessment
Assessing the Injury
Determining the proper plantar fasciitis treatment process starts with an assessment from one of our experienced providers.
You can think of foot and ankle pain as a spectrum, with some instances being more severe than others. The KCOA orthopedic specialists always focus on each individual patient and their concerns before creating a treatment plan.
Therefore, during your initial appointment, we will often ask questions such as:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Was there an event that started your symptoms?
- Did you notice or hear a popping sound at the time of your injury?
- Does your pain currently limit you or your activities?
- Has your pain progressed or worsened recently?
- Have you noticed any change in your symptoms that has made it more challenging to function?
- What are your lifestyle goals?
- How has pain affected those goals?
- What have you done to try and treat your symptoms?
From there, we can decide what treatment option will align best with your needs and lifestyle goals. Once we’ve completed a proper assessment, your provider will often begin with a physical examination to help determine the origin point of your pain. In some cases, advanced testing may be required for a full diagnosis.
Also called radiographs, an X-ray captures a picture of the foot or ankle. Orthopedic physicians may order an X-ray to rule out the possibility of a fracture (broken bone), osteoarthritis, or other bone-related conditions.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI captures images of muscles, bones, intervertebral discs, and tendons to help provide information other tests can’t detail. During an MRI, you will lie on a table that slides into a tube-shaped scanner. The machine creates a magnetic field around you, using pulsed radio waves to form the MRI images.
Establishing a Care Plan
Based on the results of your interview, examination, and imaging studies, you can expect a custom care plan catered specifically to you.
Many people believe it’s best to wait until pain becomes severe, leading them to “put off” or delay treatments for plantar fasciitis.
If you are in constant discomfort, have shooting or stabbing pains, have limited range of motion, or an inability to perform your daily activities, Plantar fasciitis treatments may be right for you.
New technologies allow patients with severe foot and ankle pain to fully recover and enjoy the benefits of a more functional, pain-free lifestyle.
Prior to surgery, you will typically receive at least 2 phone calls:
- A hospital registration representative will call to gather insurance and other personal information.
- A registered nurse will call to review your health history and medication information.
Dependent on your health history, your physician may require:
- Pre-surgical laboratory tests
- Primary care clearance
Pre-operative instructions will vary depending on your physician and the location of your surgery.
Always check with your physician before surgery for specific instructions.
Most physicians require that patients not eat or drink after midnight prior to surgery.
Additionally, you will need to designate a family member or friend to drive you home on the day you are released from the hospital. Surgical patients cannot drive themselves home.
Day of Surgery
If you schedule your surgery with a KCOA physician, you can expect the following on surgery day:
- A receptionist will check you in at the hospital registration desk.
- A nurse will take you back and prepare you for surgery. They will start an IV, prepare the surgical site, and review your medical history and medications.
- Your surgeon and anesthesiologist will visit with you prior to your operation.
- The surgical team will take you to the operation suite for surgery.
How it Works
Surgery is usually not needed for plantar fasciitis. In fact, the vast majority of patients can treat their pain without surgery.
Surgery ultimately is a last resort and only offered after conservative measures have been exhausted. If surgery is needed, one of our orthopedic experts may choose to release part of the plantar fascia ligament that supports the arch of your foot.
They may also look to remove any scar tissue that is leading to a lack of mobility or stiffness in the tissue. These procedures are typically performed through very small incisions to ensure minimal tissue disruption.
Depending on the recommendations of your surgeon, your plantar fasciitis surgery will be either open or endoscopic. Both options require general anesthesia.
In the case of open surgery, a 1 to 2 inch incision will be made to detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone. Endoscopic surgery, meanwhile, will utilize small incisions under the heel bone that are less than half an inch.
Once the procedure is performed, our surgeons will place the patient in sutures and bandages to protect the treatment area. This is an outpatient procedure and patients are free to return home that same day with specific post-op instructions.
Post-Op & What to Expect
A patient’s recovery plan and timeline will vary based on various factors, including age, activity level, goals, and more.
However, taking care of your body is essential to ensure optimal results from your plantar fasciitis surgery.
In the immediate postoperative period, it’s important to keep your foot elevated to reduce swelling. Your care team will also provide you with pain medication.
Different procedures will require different amounts of time for recovery. Most patients receiving an open surgery can expect to wear some sort of assisted device, such as a walking boot, for several days following surgery.
With endoscopic surgery, patients may be able to resume wearing normal shoes within a few days, with full recovery coming after 3 to 6 weeks. With that being said, recovery timelines are different for each person and depend on the patient closely following post-op instructions.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Foot & Ankle Injuries
With so many different parts working together in your feet and ankles, there are many potential causes of pain. And each of those causes has a unique set of symptoms.
Plantar fasciitis is quite common, with as many as 3 million new cases per year in the United States alone. Though you can normally treat the issue without surgery, plantar fasciitis can still cause considerable pain and worsen over time without treatment. Plantar fasciitis can be exacerbated by certain risk factors such as age, activity level, weight, the way you walk, and even the type of shoes you wear.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Pain at the bottom of the heel or in the arch of your foot
- A feeling of warmth
- Increased pain after exercise
- Tightness in the Achilles tendon
- And more
Causes of Foot & Ankle Pain
The body has different kinds of joints, and they all face different challenges. The foot and ankle combine for a complex region of the body, totaling 26 bones and 33 small joints that constantly go through daily wear and tear. Soft tissue made up of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels protects these joints and bones.
With all of these different bones in your feet and ankles, injuries become relatively common. As the years go on, many people struggle with the effects of years of repeated movements, such as walking, running, or jumping. This wear and tear can stress the soft tissue of your feet. Flattening or stretching of the tissue that forms the natural arch on the inside of your feet often leads to plantar fasciitis.
In most cases, surgery is not the first option for treatment at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance. If we can treat your foot and ankle issues with more conservative treatments, we’ll choose those options. We typically exhaust all non-surgical options prior to recommending surgery. Non-surgical treatments for ankles and feet include:
Soft tissue mobilization and stretching of the plantar fascia and Achilles Tendon are often a focus of treatment. Your physical therapist might also recommend exercises designed to strengthen the muscles that stabilize the ankle and lower leg.
Proper fitting shoes and the use of custom orthotics can help relieve the symptoms of bunions and hammertoe, as well as alter the angle of the affected area.
Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil)or prescription medications. Especially with NSAIDs, you should always talk to your doctor to ensure they are the right treatment for you.
Ice & Rest
A combination of ice and rest provides an opportunity for the affected area to reduce swelling. This combination can also help with pain management.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance is here to help.
Our care is personal. Our team is knowledgeable. And we’re more available than ever.
With access to board-certified specialists across Kansas City, we have the tools to meet almost every musculoskeletal condition.
Overland Park, Kansas10777 Nall Ave Suite 300 Overland Park, KS 66211
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Kansas City, MissouriSaint Luke's Medical Plaza #1 4320 Wornall Rd., Ste. 610 Kansas City, MO 64111
Belton, MissouriBelton Regional Campus 17067 S Outer Rd #301 Belton, MO 64012
Merriam, Kansas7450 W. Frontage Rd Merriam, KS 66203
Shannon was amazing! She took the time give me options and explained everything to great detail. She is also very skilled. Shoulder injection with almost no discomfort!
Shannon is very caring and encouraging. She listens to my questions and explains what to expect going forward very thoroughly. Hopefully I don’t need my other shoulder replaced, but if I did I would come back to Shannon and Dr. Van Den Berghe.
Some of the best doctors
I have been going to the doctors here for many things and for many years. They have some of the best doctors and surgeons around and when you need something repaired one of the doctors there who’s speciality it is will have your x-rays and MRIs scheduled and the hospital setup in only a few days. They explain everything you should know and so you can understand it and best of all you don’t have to wait a week to a month for an appointment.
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Dr. Ting and his staff are the best!
Dr. Ting and his staff are the best! Sarah his nurse is kind and supportive. Dr. Tings nurse for surgery was absolutely the best! Dr. Ting, I have complete faith in. He is who I shall go to for anything he handles! Can’t say enough about him! Thank you all for making a scary time a completely peaceful event. You are the best!!