Foot pain, in particular heel pain, can have a dramatic impact on quality of life. It can prevent sufferers from engaging in regular activities, fitness routines, and important life events. One of the most common forms of heel pain, plantar fasciitis, is inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. This condition may cause intense pain in the heel, along with redness, swelling, or heat. This pain may be most acute when a patient takes the first step in the morning or after sitting.
Today’s Podiatrist is the heel pain expert. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) complete years of rigorous foot and ankle training in podiatric medical school and hospital-based residency. They are uniquely qualified to treat plantar fasciitis and other conditions that cause heel pain.
“All adults are at risk of developing plantar fasciitis,” says Shelly Sedberry, MS, DPM, a podiatrist at Shoal Creek Foot & Ankle Center and a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). “The first step in treating patients is diagnosing their condition and evaluating their individual needs to create the right treatment plan.”
As part of the diagnosis, Dr. Sedberry will perform a thorough physical exam that may include a gait analysis to identify fundamental biomechanical issues that cause pain. She may also take x-rays.
If a patient is diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, podiatrists may recommend treatments such as:
- Prescription custom orthotics: These specially made devices are prescribed by a podiatrist to fit your specific foot and are designed for the way you move to increase comfort and mobility.
- Taping: Repositioning the foot can help to address biomechanical issues that may be contributing to inflammation.
- Stretching exercises: The calf muscle, plantar fascia, and arch of your foot are target areas to reduce inflammation.
- Rest, ice, topical gels and ointments: These methods can help reduce inflammation. Topical treatments can be prescribed, over the counter, herbal, or non-pharmaceutical.
The good news for anyone suffering from plantar fasciitis is that most cases respond well to conservative (non-surgical) treatment options.
“For more persistent cases, we may also use cutting-edge treatments, from platelet-rich plasma injections to surgical intervention,” says Dr. Sedberry. “Our ultimate goal is to treat each patient with an individualized plan that is best suited to get them back on their feet.”
Shelly Sedberry, MS, DPM, is a podiatrist at Shoal Creek Foot & Ankle Center. The office is located at 1801 West 32nd Street, Building C, Suite 102 in Joplin, MO. Office hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Tuesday evening and Saturday morning appointments are available. To schedule an appointment, call (417) 622-0648. For additional information, visit www.shoalcreekfac.com.