If you are currently dealing with heel pain, it might be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a medical professional. It’s worth mentioning that a lot of plantar fasciitis cases can actually be managed at home with basic remedies such as applying ice and allowing your feet to rest. So, don’t put off seeing a doctor until your symptoms have worsened significantly. Taking prompt action can help prevent further complications.
A Typical Diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a prevalent reason for experiencing discomfort in the heel. It occurs when the band of tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed. This particular tissue is responsible for providing support to the foot. However, factors such as excess weight, prolonged periods of inactivity, or wearing ill-fitting shoes can lead to inflammation and subsequent pain.
If you’re experiencing pain and discomfort, it’s likely that your doctor will advise you to consult a physical therapist who specializes in stretching exercises. These exercises are specifically designed to relax your muscles and target the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. Incorporating these exercises into your routine may help alleviate pain and improve your flexibility. Additionally, your doctor may suggest applying ice to your sore foot multiple times throughout the day to provide further relief.
Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also be effective for treating plantar fasciitis. Ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) are good choices, but your doctor may advise you to switch to a different NSAID if you find that these medications don’t provide the relief you need.
Injecting a corticosteroid into the tender area of your heel can provide temporary relief of pain and inflammation. But multiple injections can weaken your plantar fascia and possibly cause it to rupture, as well as shrink the fat pad covering your heel bone.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is another treatment that can help reduce inflammation and promote healing in your plantar fascia. In a study of 100 patients, over 90% reported improvement in their symptoms that lasted for 6 months or longer.
Custom orthotics are prescription devices made to support your arch and strengthen your feet. If your doctor creates them correctly, they can be highly effective for relieving pain and improving your walking or running posture.
You should ask your physician if he or she has experience creating and using custom orthotics for patients with plantar fasciitis. This can indicate the degree of expertise your doctor has in this specialty, as plantar fasciitis is a complex biomechanical problem that needs specialized treatment.
Your doctor should also explain how your plantar fasciitis is caused and which risk factors put you at greater risk for developing it. Some people are more likely to develop this condition, including runners and patients who walk or stand for extended periods of time on hard surfaces. Females and overweight individuals are at a higher risk, as well.
Other treatments for plantar fasciitis include a night splint that stretches the arch of your foot while you sleep. Wearing these splints can help relieve your pain, especially after exercise or at the end of a long workday.
Your doctor should also discuss your lifestyle and recommend ways to change it to ease the pain and inflammation associated with your plantar fasciitis. For example, you should avoid long-distance running and use an elliptical machine instead, which is low-impact and less stressful on your legs. You should also be sure to wear supportive shoes and take regular breaks to stretch your feet.