Plantar Fasciitis Specialist

Woodlake Podiatry, LLC

Sheryl Hanawalt, DPM

Podiatrist located in Chesterfield, MO

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and a frequent affliction among distance runners. At Woodlake Podiatry, LLC, in Chesterfield, Missouri, board-qualified podiatrist Sheryl Hanawalt, DPM, uses a conservative approach to get you back on your feet after plantar fasciitis. If you’re experiencing sharp pain in the soles of your feet, don’t wait. Schedule an appointment online or by phone today.

Plantar Fasciitis Q & A

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the bands of tissue that connect your heels to your toes. These ligaments act as shock absorbers and support the arches of your feet when you run and perform other weight-bearing activity. However, when you put too much stress on your feet, your plantar fascia can develop small tears, leading to inflammation.

Plantar fasciitis commonly affects distance runners. You’re more likely to get the condition if you don’t vary your exercise routine to relieve the stress on your heels.

The condition can affect you regardless of your level of activity. You’re at risk of developing plantar fasciitis if you’re overweight or obese, have to stand for hours on end at your job, or your shoes don’t provide adequate support.

What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis causes sharp, stabbing pain in the soles of your feet. The pain is worse when you first get out of bed in the morning and gets better as you move around. You may also feel the pain after, but not during, a run or workout.

If plantar fasciitis is allowed to progress untreated, the pain becomes more severe and lasts longer.

How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?

If you have heel pain, Dr. Hanawalt can usually confirm a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis by examining your foot to locate the pain and checking for areas of tenderness. The location indicates whether you may have plantar fasciitis or another condition. She may also assess the health of your plantar fascia by having you perform certain stretches.

In most cases, it’s not necessary to take an MRI or X-ray to diagnose plantar fasciitis, but Dr. Hanawalt may order imaging tests to rule out stress fractures and other causes of heel pain.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

Dr. Hanawalt helps you manage the pain of plantar fasciitis through simple, conservative treatment. With this approach, the condition goes away within a few months, and you experience relief from your pain much sooner. Steps to manage plantar fasciitis include:

  • Icing the area several times a day
  • Physical therapy, including stretches, to stabilize your plantar fascia
  • Wearing a splint at night to stabilize your foot and ankle
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers and injections of steroid medication as needed

If you’re a distance runner, you may need to take a break from running as you heal. That doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising, but Dr. Hanawalt may recommend activities like swimming and cycling that don’t put stress on your feet. Varying your physical activity is important for preventing future overuse injuries as well.

To treat plantar fasciitis and prevent its recurrence, you need proper footwear. Dr. Hanawalt can recommend supportive shoes designed for running and everyday activity. She can also recommend orthotics, or customized shoe inserts, to provide extra support.

If you have heel pain, book an appointment at Woodlake Podiatry online or by phone.