Excessive strain, injury, or a tear to your plantar fascia can lead to its stiffening and tightening, resulting in discomfort and soreness in the heel area.
The majority of individuals experiencing plantar fasciitis can find relief by utilizing simple home remedies. These remedies include applying ice, taking pain relievers, and regularly performing stretches. However, there are instances where more advanced treatment methods may be necessary to completely alleviate symptoms.
The inflammation of the plantar fascia prevents it from effectively absorbing the stress and pressure it is subjected to.
This causes the tissue to tear, causing inflammation and pain in your foot. The good news is that this condition often goes away on its own over time, though you may need to do some things to help your body heal.
Resting during the healing process is critical. You must avoid impact activities such as running, walking and standing too long without taking breaks.
Stretching is also essential. You should try to do plantar fascia stretches before each step and after prolonged periods of sitting or driving.
If simple treatments don’t work, your doctor can recommend a cortisone shot to reduce the inflammation in the plantar fascia and relieve the pain. However, this should be a last resort, as it requires significant time off your feet and can cost a lot of money.
Besides rest, icing is a key part of the healing process for plantar fasciitis. It constricts blood vessels, which reduces swelling and inflammation-related pain.
It also numbs the area, which may relieve pain and discomfort. You can apply ice by holding a cloth-covered ice pack over the injured area for 15 minutes three or four times a day.
Another effective method is to roll a frozen water bottle under your foot for an ice massage. You can also try a heated massage ball or heat rubs that focus on the bottom of your foot.
While ice can help relieve pain and reduce swelling, it is not a cure for plantar fasciitis. It is important to use other treatment methods in conjunction with ice and avoid using it too frequently because it can lead to addiction.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Most people who develop plantar fasciitis get better with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen. They may also wear supportive shoes with low heels, avoid hard surfaces, and change their walking or exercise routine.
Occasionally, patients develop chronic plantar fasciitis that gets worse. This happens when the strain on the foot causes inflammation and extreme pain.
If you have chronic plantar fasciitis, your health care provider might recommend night splints to stretch your feet while you sleep. You can also buy off-the-shelf or custom-fitted arch supports (orthotics) to distribute pressure more evenly on your feet.
If your foot pain persists even after these treatments, you may need additional treatment. Your doctor might prescribe extracorporeal pulse activation technology (EPAT), which uses concentrated acoustic waves to increase blood flow to your plantar fascia. Or they might inject a corticosteroid into your plantar fascia to reduce swelling and inflammation.
PT is a proven treatment option that can alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and improve overall function. Physical therapists use a variety of therapeutic techniques, including stretching and strengthening exercises, joint manipulation, taping, and more.
The goal of physical therapy is to improve movement, muscle strength, and flexibility. The best PTs will work with you to make sure your program is adjusted to fit your lifestyle.
Common factors that can contribute to plantar fasciitis include increased body weight, flat or high arches, and decreased ankle range of motion. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle or changes in activity can also increase the risk of developing this condition.
Most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to conservative treatment methods like injections, stretching, orthotics, and physical therapy. Surgery is often recommended as a last resort for people who have tried these approaches but are still experiencing pain and discomfort.
When done properly, surgery can improve mobility in the foot and reduce pain and inflammation. However, this procedure has risks and shouldn’t be done without a thorough consultation and examination.
The most common surgical procedure for plantar fasciitis is plantar fascia release (also known as plantar fasciotomy). This surgery involves removing part of the plantar fascia that’s tight. This relieves tension and allows the connective tissue to grow back, restoring normal movement in the foot.