Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosis - What You Need to Know

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Nov 20, 2013
Quick Bites

  • Plantar Fasciitis is characterised by inflammation of the plantar fascia.
  • Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel.
  • Physical examination and imaging test consist of its diagnosis.
  • If ignored and left untreated, affected person may develop chronic heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the common causes of heel pain in adults. It is the inflammation of thick tissue in the bottom part of the foot known as the plantar fascia.

plantar fasciitis diagnosisPlantar fasciitis occurs as a result of overuse or overstretching of the thick band of tissues in the bottom of the foot. It is a self-limiting condition that can be painful and can make it difficult to walk. Those with foot arch problems and a tight Achilles tendon are at greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Runners, people who are overweight, women who are pregnant and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are more prone to plantar fasciitis.

The most common symptoms reported include pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel. Stiffness may develop slowly over time, or suddenly after intense activity. Heel pain can be sharp and gets worse when climbing stairs, in the morning when you walk or after standing/sitting for a while.



A health care professional will ask you whether you have the classic symptoms of first-step pain and about your activities, including whether you recently have intensified your training or changed your exercising pattern. Your doctor often can diagnose plantar fasciitis based on your history and symptoms, together with a physical examination. If the diagnosis is in doubt, your doctor may order a foot X-ray, bone scan or nerve conduction studies to rule out other conditions such as a stress fracture or nerve problem.

A physical exam is conducted to check for tenderness in your foot and the exact location of the pain. The doctor may push on the plantar fascia to see if the pain gets worse while you flex. Tenderness on the bottom of your foot, high arches, mild foot swelling or redness and tightness of the arch at the bottom of your foot are among other things the doctor will look into.


Treatment and Prognosis

If you experience heel pain and tightness after standing up from bed in the morning or after they have been seated for a prolonged time, you must see a doctor immediately. Non-surgical treatments can help lessen the pain. The treatment of plantar fasciitis can last from several months to 2 years before symptoms get better. Some patients may need surgery to relieve the pain.

To relieve plantar fasciitis pain, the doctor may prescribe medley of rest, activity modification, ice massage, and acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Some doctors recommend over-the-counter arch supports that take the tension off the plantar fascia and help absorb shock. Some medical treatments such as steroid injections weaken the plantar fascia ligament further and can cause its rupture.


If ignored and left untreated, you can develop chronic heel pain. Furthermore, there can be complications such as walking difficulty or injury to your legs, knees, hips and back. When you don’t seek treatment for the condition, plantar fascia detachment is another complication that can occur. It causes changes in your foot and damages the nerves.



Read more articles on Plantar Fasciitis.




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