What Happens If Plantar Fasciitis Is Left Untreated?
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that impacts the feet and causes issues when walking or running. It is caused by the inflammation of the thick, dense band of connective tissue which runs along the bottom of the foot.
This muscle is known as the plantar fascia and connects the heel bone to the toes.
Those who suffer from plantar fasciitis can experience a lot of pain across their foot during movement or when resting.
It is a common infliction but one that can be left untreated if patients do not know what they are dealing with in the first place.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis causes pain and stiffness across the foot during movement and sometimes when resting.
It is caused by repeated stretching of the plantar fascia which will create small ruptures and tears in the tissue.
The plantar fascia, which connects the heel bone to the toes, is supposed to stretch slightly which allows the arch of the foot to flatten to cushion the blow of every step.
While it stretches to accommodate movement, this connective tissue is not incredibly flexible as it is a thick, dense tissue. Plantar fasciitis is caused by repeated stretching of this tissue which it cannot bear.
Signs Of Plantar Fasciitis
One of the most common signs of plantar fasciitis is heel pain, but this is also a common symptom of many other injuries you can experience in the lower body.
Other signs of plantar fasciitis include:
- Shooting heel pain when you first stand up in the morning. This will usually ease during the day
- Pain in the foot or heel after standing for too long
- Pain when standing after long periods of resting
- Pain along the bottom of the foot when you stretch your toes
- Swelling in the heel
Many people suffer from plantar fasciitis but are not aware that this is the cause of their foot and heel pain. It is important to be aware of the symptoms so you can get the right treatment for your injury.
How Is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?
As pain and swelling in the feet can be associated with many other kinds of injury, you may think that it is difficult to diagnose plantar fasciitis specifically.
To diagnose plantar fasciitis, as opposed to other injuries, an orthopedic specialist (which is a foot and ankle specialist) will talk to you about your symptoms.
Stabbing heel pain is the main symptom of plantar fasciitis, so if your heel pain does not subside after a couple of weeks it is best to get in touch with an orthopedic doctor.
When you visit the orthopedic, they will examine your foot to ensure there is nothing else that causes the symptoms. X-rays and other tests may be required to determine whether it is plantar fasciitis, or whether your pain is being caused by a strain or foot fracture.
What Happens If Plantar Fasciitis Is Left Untreated?
Like many other kinds of injury, if left untreated plantar fasciitis can result in worse damage to your feet and lower body. It is important to get treatment on time to prevent:
- Heel Spurs
Heel spurs are one of the most common outgrowths of untreated plantar fasciitis as it is caused by a standard bodily response to damage.
It is common for the body to generate calcium deposits in the arch of the foot during times of damage as a way to prevent it from getting worse. Over time, such as when plantar fasciitis is left untreated, these calcium deposits will accumulate into sharp growths that jab the fatty part of the heel every time you step.
This is what causes long-term pain in the heel with every movement you make.
- Plantar Rupture
Plantar rupture can occur if you do not seek treatment for plantar fasciitis and continue putting pressure on the affected foot.
Pressure can be placed on the plantar fascia tissue thorugh walking, running, sports, standing for long periods of time, and even by not wearing supportive footwear.
A plantar rupture is usually associated with a loud popping sound which is then followed by intense pain, swelling, and bruising in the foot. Those with a plantar rupture will also find it difficult to put any weight on the affected foot.
If you think you have experienced a plantar rupture, you need to seek medical attention immediately. To treat this issue, you will be given a boot to wear or told to stay immobilized for a certain period following the rupture to support recovery.
- Plantar Fibromatosis
Plantar fibromatosis develops non-cancerous nodules along the plantar fascia tissue. This is a slow process at first but then can increase rapidly, which is why medical attention is needed quickly when dealing with plantar fasciitis or heel pain of any kind.
As these nodules continue to grow along the base of the foot, it will become increasingly painful to walk, run or even stand for long periods.
Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today
Are you suffering from a recent injury? Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today to start your healing journey. OrthoArizona has nearly two dozen offices throughout the Valley, each focused on quality care, compassion, and excellent customer service. Since 1994, OrthoArizona has been dedicated to compassionate care of the highest quality.
The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or other educational medical material.