How to Stop a Plantar Fasciitis Flare Up
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, affecting about 7-10% of the population. It causes a stabbing, sometimes burning, pain in the heel that usually occurs when you take your first steps in the morning.
It may last for a long time without treatment, but most people heal within several months after starting treatments. There are a variety of home remedies that can be used to treat the pain, including icing and stretching exercises.
* Rest, Stretching & Ice: A good regimen of stretches can help relieve inflammation and ease pain. Your doctor might also recommend that you use foot orthotics or arch supports to improve the support of your feet and reduce stress on the plantar fascia.
If these steps aren’t enough, your doctor might suggest steroid injections into the damaged area or surgery. But, most of the time, conservative methods such as ice, stretching and modifying or eliminating activities that increase pain are enough to ease symptoms.
Your doctor will diagnose plantar fasciitis based on your medical history and physical exam. He or she will examine your heels for tenderness and ask questions about your previous injuries and activity level.
Then, he or she might suggest testing to rule out other conditions that can cause heel pain, such as a stress fracture or bone spurs on the heel bones. If there’s no other problem, then your doctor might suggest some home treatments to help alleviate the symptoms.
Medications that can treat the pain include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, which are available over the counter. But if you’re taking these medications for longer than a month, or if the pain and inflammation persists, your doctor may prescribe stronger medication, such as a steroid.
New Workouts: It’s a good idea to mix up your fitness routine from time to time. But be sure to warm up before beginning and wear shoes suited to the new workout. If you’re a runner, be sure to get your running shoes fitted by a trainer before starting a new running program.
Sudden weight gain: It’s important to avoid sudden weight gain as it can put extra strain on the ligament and trigger a flare-up of plantar fasciitis. Similarly, pregnancy can bring on a flare-up if you’re carrying extra weight or muscles around your waist.
A new pair of running or walking shoes can also trigger a flare-up if they don’t provide adequate arch support. So, if you’re thinking about buying a new shoe, be sure to have your arch supports and inserts replaced before you wear them for the first time.
Over-the-counter cold compresses are another effective way to decrease swelling. A frozen water bottle or a cold pack wrapped in a towel can be placed on the bottom of your foot for 15 minutes a few times a day.
Heat can be helpful for reducing pain, but it shouldn’t be used on its own. It can be combined with icing and cold therapies, which are known as contrast therapy.