What is Plantar Nerve Neuritis?

Plantar nerve neuritis is an inflammation of the nerve in the foot and is found to be very common, causing pain and the loss of function.

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Overview

Plantar nerve neuritis can be found in two forms; a standalone condition where the lateral branch of the inferior calcaneal nerve becomes inflamed and irritated over a period, or more commonly as a complication associated with chronic plantar fasciitis.

Causes

The most common cause of plantar nerve neuritis is a repetitive irritation or impingement of the nerves due to abnormal musculoskeletal movement around the ankle area. However, nerve damage can also occur when other parts of the foot experience injury or trauma. In some cases, a microtear in the plantar fascia can lead to inflammation and thickening, potentially impinging the nerve running beneath the plantar fascia.

Symptoms

Plantar nerve neuritis can significantly impact daily activities, with pain gradually intensifying over time. Irritation or entrapment of the nerves can result in constant pain radiating to the lower heel and ankle. This pain and discomfort exacerbates with forceful or continuous activity, making walking, sitting and standing difficult. If it is left unaddressed, the continual irritation can inflame the nerve, resulting in symptoms such as numbness, tingling, buzzing sensation, pins and needles, burning, and cramping.

How can Plantar Nerve Neuritis be managed?

The podiatrist's goal is to reduce the pain and symptoms while addressing the root cause of the condition through comprehensive and conservative therapy.



Depending on the assessment, a combination of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (SIS) and Extracorporeal Magnetotransduction Therapy (EMTT) can be applied to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. Long-term offloading through custom orthotic devices may also be necessary to address the repetitive impact and reduce nerve impingement.

Individuals experiencing foot and heel pain are strongly advised to consult a podiatrist promptly. If left unaddressed, it can aggravate the condition and lead to complications. Early diagnosis and a combination of different therapies that can help accelerate the recovery process, ensuring a swift return to normal activities.

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Common Symptoms

Gradual increase in pain over time
Constant pain that radiates to the lower part of the heel and ankle
Worsened pain with forceful or continuous activity
Difficulty when pressure is applied to the foot during walking, standing, or sitting
Numbness
Burning and tingling sensations
Cramping

How It Looks Like

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An ankle specialist, such as a podiatrist, will be able to perform a thorough foot assessment using diagnostic tools, such as a musculoskeletal diagnostic ultrasound to determine the source of your ankle pain. If surgery is required, your podiatrist will refer you to a trusted foot and ankle doctor for surgical solutions.

A thorough assessment of your ankle

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