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How A Podiatrist Diagnoses Plantar Fasciitis

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Plantar fasciitis, or heel pain, is one of the most common foot conditions in North America, affecting more than 2 million people. 

It is characterized by sharp pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel. The pain is especially acute when you first start walking after a period of inactivity, such as sleeping or sitting. The pain generally subsides after a few minutes of walking. 

If you suspect that you have plantar fasciitis, have one of our NYC foot doctors at To Healthy Feet diagnose it for you. Our podiatrists have experience practicing a wide array of treatment options, ranging from conservative physical therapy to minimally invasive surgery, to address your heel pain. Drop by one of our clinics in Downtown Manhattan today or call (917) 398-3668 to book an appointment

Diagnosing Your Plantar Fasciitis 

Understanding how this condition occurs in the first place can be helpful for determining whether you are affected by it. 

The plantar fascia is a thick connective tissue under your skin in the bottom of your foot. Its job is to absorb the stress we place on our feet. However, too much pressure can damage the tissue, causing inflammation. Diagnosing plantar fasciitis, then, is about looking for symptoms of tissue inflammation. 

To ascertain whether you have plantar fasciitis in your foot, your podiatrist will look for the following signs:

  • High arch: People with high arched feet are naturally susceptible to plantar fasciitis. This is because people with high arches place most of their weight on their heel as they walk, which speeds up the wear and tear of the tissue. 
  • Tenderness on the bottom of your foot: Plantar fasciitis often causes localized tenderness along the sole of the foot.
  • Pain on contact: If you feel pain when you flex your foot or when your plantar fascia is being pushed, you may have plantar fasciitis. 
  • Limited range of motion of your ankle: Another common symptom of plantar fasciitis is reduced upward movement of your foot towards your ankle. 

Usually, the presence of these symptoms is sufficient for your podiatrist to diagnose plantar fasciitis. However, if your podiatrist has reasons to think that another foot condition may be causing the same symptoms, they may order imaging tests to identify the source of your heel pain. 

An x-ray provides a clear illustration of the bones in your foot and can rule out other causes of heel pain, such as fractures or arthritis. Other imaging tests such as MRI can be used to obtain a more detailed picture of your injury, which can be useful if your plantar fasciitis has not responded well to conventional treatments.

Get Your Heel Pain Checked Out

If you are experiencing heel pain, you should get it diagnosed as soon as possible. Leaving plantar fasciitis untreated can result in constant pain (as opposed to periodical pain triggered by activity) and even long-term disability. 

A podiatry test can also diagnose other causes of heel pain like arthritis which could also lead to permanent disability if left untreated. 

Where better to diagnose your heel pain than at To Healthy Podiatry? Our NYC podiatrists have helped thousands of Americans walk better and have improved the lives of even more. Whether you are affected with plantar fasciitis or another condition, call (917) 398-3668 or fill out our online contact form to see what we can do for you.

FAQs

How can I treat my plantar fasciitis?
Treatment options range from physical therapy to surgery. The latter is only considered if more conservative treatments have proven ineffective after several months. 

Can I treat plantar fasciitis by myself? 
It is best to go see a foot doctor, even if you think your case is minor. You can, however, do multiple things to reduce heel pain. These measures include wearing more supportive shoes, stretching your arches, and frequently applying ice to the affected area.

Are heel spurs the same thing as plantar fasciitis?
No. Heel spurs are formed by calcified bone buildup on the heel bone. The buildup increases in size until it begins affecting the plantar fascia. In other words, heel spurs can lead to plantar fasciitis but are technically not the same thing. 

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