Understanding Plantar Fasciitis

Updated 8/21/2018
Dr. Baravarian explains plantar fasciitis and the state-of-the-art treatment options available at UFAI.

We realize that plantar fasciitis can be a debilitating and painful condition. Our goal is to get you back to your normal activities, in the shortest amount of time using the least invasive treatment possible.


Our physicians have decades of combined experience and are leaders in both education and product development in plantar fasciitis treatment.


With the highest success rates in the nation, we pride ourselves in offering the very best care.


Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a thick ligament that connects your heel to the front part of your foot and supports your arch in your foot. When these ligaments become inflamed, the inflammation causes heel pain and stiffness, that's Plantar Fasciitis.


Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain in or around the bottom of the heel and one of the most common foot conditions in our country.

Plantar fasciitis is generally a chronic condition and rarely caused by a single trauma to the foot. Common causes include:

  • Tight calf muscles and tight Achilles tendons
  • If you are a long distance runner or spend extended periods of time on your feet
  • Wearing shoes with soft soles or poor arch support


Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis hurts, there is no doubt about that, and can take on many pain profiles, such as:

  • Morning heel pain.
  • Sharp or “tearing feeling” pain in the heel with the first few steps when they get out of bed or after sitting for an extended period of time. The pain may decrease as the tendon loosens up but almost always returns.
  • Heel pain when climbing stairs, participating in high impact activities or after standing for long periods of time.


Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs are not the same condition. Although a Heel Spur is often thought to be the source of heel pain, it rarely is.


The truth is, plantar fasciitis is so common and has so many causes, it usually takes a doctor to work through the true underlying cause of the pain and the proper treatment. Too often we see patients who have not received satisfactory relief because previous doctors didn’t seek out the root cause of their plantar fasciitis.

Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis

There are many sources of heel pain and not all cases are plantar fasciitis. As a result, in order to effectively treat your pain it is critical to determine the cause of the problem.


At UFAI we know the importance of determining the source of your heel pain; we always want to treat the true cause of our patient's pain, not just the symptoms. To that end, UFAI has the most advanced technologies to properly diagnose Plantar Fasciitis including:


Advanced Digital X-Ray

X-rays evaluate the alignment of the foot and check for heel spurs or stress fractures of the heel, both possible causes of chronic Plantar Fasciitis.


Diagnostic Ultrasound

Diagnostic ultrasound allows for complete real time imaging of the plantar fascia while the foot is moved into different positions. This allows doctors to measure the thickness within the plantar fascia and any associated possible scar tissue formation or microscopic tears in the fascia.


Advanced Extremity MRI

Our dedicated foot and ankle MRI is designed so the patient is comfortably seated during the scan and only the foot and ankle are placed inside the machine.


It is not common to require an MRI for heel pain. However in the rare, chronic case that does not respond to conservative options, an MRI may be ordered to check all structures including the fascia, tendon, ligament, bone, cartilage and joints of the ankle and foot for a more complete evaluation.


Neurosensory testing

Neurosensory testing (a non-painful nerve examination) is used when there is a burning, tingling, radiating, or shooting pain in the heel. The nerves on the arch side of the ankle and heel can become irritated and painful causing heel pain. This is often missed and needs to be carefully considered if radiating pain is noted.


Depending on the test results, various treatment options will be explained by your physician.


Conservative Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

Conservative treatments for heel pain are intended to calm down the fascia and decrease inflammation and pain.

We regularly see positive results with the following treatments:

Plantar Fasciitis stretches help when you are in pain and can help prevent injuries too.
  • Plantar Fasciitis stretches

  • Icing

  • Heat

  • Orthotics for plantar fasciitis

  • Massage

  • Plantar fasciitis night splints

  • Anti-inflammatory medications

  • Cortisone injections for heel pain


The goal of conservative treatments is to make the fascia and Achilles tendon more limber and stretched, which decreases stress on the arch and lessens pressure through the plantar fascia. Often these treatments are sufficient to make the condition tolerable or eliminate it altogether.


Learn more about conservative Plantar Fasciitis treatment options here.


Regenerative Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

Approximately 80% of our patients respond well to conservative treatment. However, heel pain may continue to be a problem for some. Typically, this is due to a lack of blood flow to the damaged tissue, which results in chronic pain and scar formation.


In these cases, regenerative medicine is an innovative therapy approach that activates the body's natural healing, allowing it to repair, replace and regenerate damaged tissue and cells, including the plantar fascia.

Regenerative treatment options include:

  • Platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) for Plantar fasciitis

  • Shockwave Therapy for plantar fasciitis


  • Amniotic stem cell therapy


Learn more about regenerative Plantar Fasciitis treatment options here. 

Surgical Options for Plantar Fasciitis

Surgery is reserved for the most chronic cases of plantar fasciitis. Surgical option depends on the severity of the fasciitis and include:

  • Topaz Technology for Plantar Fasciitis

  • Tenex

  • Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy surgery


Learn more about surgical Plantar Fasciitis treatment options here.


Trust UFAI with your Plantar Fasciitis Care

Our physicians are recognized leaders in the treatment of plantar fasciitis and heel pain. They have decades of combined experience and the latest equipment possible for heel pain care. This includes our own state-of the art open-MRI that is exclusively designed for the extremities and revolutionary weight bearing CT scanners.


If conservative care does not work, . We pride ourselves in being leaders in the field of regenerative medicine technology where we can now prompt a patient’s own body to literally repair itself.


UFAI, We’re Near and Here When You Need Us!

University Foot and Ankle Institute Doctors
Our doctors are dedicated to the individual patient. There is no place for the "one size fits all" approach to medicine at UFAI.

We are pleased to provide the convenience of nine locations throughout Greater Los Angeles and Southern California to better serve you.

Our locations offer a full-range of services including state of the art surgical centers, radiology, Physical Therapy, MRI, neurosensory nerve testing, ultrasound plus nationally recognized foot and ankle care. This means you rarely go from one location to the next when tests are ordered.


Our advanced physical therapy services get you back on your feet quickly and teach you what is necessary to keep you moving. The UFAI orthotic manufacturing facility designs and creates custom orthotics for your lifestyle and shoe needs.


University Foot and Ankle Institute is proud to fulfill all of the requirements to be a center of excellence in the treatment of heel pain and plantar fasciitis. Visit us in Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks, Manhattan Beach, Valencia, Santa Barbara, West Los Angeles, West Hills, Valencia our our Santa Monica Podiatry location.

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