Plantar Fasciitis: Diagnosis and Conservative Management.

Gill LH. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 1997 Mar;5(2):109-117.

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain, which frustrates patients and practitioners alike because of its resistance to treatment. It has been associated with obesity, middle age, and biomechanical abnormalities in the foot, such as tight Achilles tendon, pes cavus, and pes planus. It is considered to be most often the result of a degenerative process at the origin of the plantar fascia at the calcaneus. However, neurogenic and other causes of subcalcaneal pain are frequently cited. A combination of causative factors may be present, or the true cause may remain obscure. Although normally managed with conservative treatment, plantar fasciitis is frequently resistant to the wide variety of treatments commonly used, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, pads, cups, splints, orthotics, corticosteroid injections, casts, physical therapy, ice, and heat. Although there is no consensus on the efficacy of any particular conservative treatment regimen, there is agreement that nonsurgical treatment is ultimately effective in approximately 90% of patients. Since the natural history of plantar fasciitis has not been established, it is unclear how much of symptom resolution is in fact due to the wide variety of commonly used treatments.