by Dr. Emily Splichal, DPM MS
Anyone who has ever been experienced plantar fasciitis knows that classic stabbing pain in the heel. Whether you have been experiencing the symptoms for a few days or a few months, most people turn to the same treatment options including rest, ice, NSAIDs and maybe some stretching.
But what if the success of these treatment options was directly related to the duration in which you had your symptoms? This is where knowing if you have acute versus chronic plantar fasciitis is important. (Learn more about plantar fasciitis here.)
How do I know if my Plantar Fasciitis is Acute or Chronic?
Acute Plantar Fasciitis:
Time is the biggest determinant in the type of plantar fasciitis. If you've only experienced heel pain for a few days or a couple weeks, then you are most likely in the acute phase of the injury.
This is the time when you want to be the most consistent in following your treatment, as recovery is often the quickest. Anti-inflammatories, icing, releasing the calves, orthotics and decreased activity (rest) are some of the most common recommendations for acute plantar fasciitis. Here are five mobility exercises that you can do to help with an acute plantar fasciitis flare-up.
Chronic Plantar Fasciitis:
If you neglect your acute symptoms or you continue to stress your feet, then your symptoms may persist and your condition becomes chronic. Typically, when symptoms last for 6 months or longer it is then considered a chronic condition.
The longer stress and injury is present in tissue, the greater the opportunity for the tissue structure to breakdown or degenerate. In fact, it is this tissue degeneration that causes acute plantar fasciitis treatments to be less effective for people with chronic plantar fasciitis.
Recommendations for chronic conditions require understanding tissue degeneration and tissue injury process. Kickstarting your body's healing process is a big part of the chronic plantar fasciitis protocol and may include options such as stem cell injections, laser therapy, graston technique and even proteolytic enzymes.
If you are not sure of what type of plantar fasciitis you may have, or have failed conservative treatment options, we recommend seeing a Podiatrist to discuss if you may have chronic tissue changes, or chronic plantar fasciitis.