There are many different ways to treat plantar fasciitis but there is no one treatment that works for everyone. Different treatment techniques affect patients in different manner. Every patient has to be dynamic in their treatment activity. Trying a few different treatment techniques is usually necessary before finding the suitable ones. As progress is made and the pain decreases a new treatment approach should be considered.
Here are the most common plantar fasciitis treatment techniques:
Rest until the pain resolves
and you are feeling better. For most people with plantar fasciitis it is
very difficult to rest as daily routine demands using their feet during
the day for work or other activities. By using the painful foot you keep on
hurting the plantar fascia, harming the foot and increasing inflammation. Rest as much as
you can, reduce unnecessary activities and additional stress on the fascia.
Cold therapy like applying
ice to the bottom of your foot helps reduce pain and inflammation. Cold therapy can be used all the time until
symptoms have resolved. Some patients prefer to roll their foot over an iced cold drink can or bottle taken out of the freezer.
Physical therapy Exercises are good
plantar fasciitis treatment. Stretching and other physical therapy measures
may be used to provide relief. Stretching the plantar fascia is reported in scientific studies to be a very
effective treatment technique.
Gait analysis will determine if you
overpronate or oversupinate. An expert may perform a test of the way you
stand and walk to see if you step in a way that puts more stress on the
plantar fascia. You can try to change the way you walk and stand according to the
experts recommendation as part of your treatment.
Exercise the foot muscles to make the muscles
stronger. One good exercise is grabbing and lifting up a towel or marbles
using your toes. You can do the same exercise without a towel as though you
are grasping something with the toes of each foot. Another good exercise is
walking as tall as you can on your toes and on the balls of your feet.
Stretching the plantar fascia and the
calf muscles several times a day is an important part of the treatment and prevention. There are many stretching exercises
for the plantar fascia and the calf muscles that you can find. Long term treatment should not focus in reduction of pain
and inflammation alone. This is a passive short term relief treatment. Stretching exercises results are longer and more flexible
foot movement which can prevent another fascia injury.
Plantar fasciitis taping technique
can assist the foot getting rest and help it from getting injured again.
Athletic tape is applied in strips on the skin on the bottom of the foot supporting the plantar fascia.
The tape restricts the movement of the foot so the fascia can not be injured again.
Taping supports the foot by putting the tired foot muscles and tendons in a physiologically more relaxed position.
Night splint is worn
during sleep. It holds the calf muscles and plantar fascia in a stretched position.
treatment lets the fascia heal in a stretched position so it will not get bruised again when
waking up and stretching it again while walking.
Orthotics or inserts that your doctor may
prescribe or custom made arch supports (orthotics) help to distribute the pressure on your feet more evenly. Arch Support
gives a little raise to the arch assisting the plantar fascia.
There are also
over-the-counter inserts that are used for arch support and heel cushioning. Heel cups and cradles
provide extra comfort and cushion the heel. They reduce shock placed on the foot during everyday
activities like Shock absorbers.
Anti-inflammatory or Pain medication that
a clinician may recommend can be a plantar fasciitis treatment.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can reduce swelling
and relieve pain. However, these medications may have many side
effects and it is important to consider the potential risks and benefits. These medications may relieve the pain and inflammation but will not cure the fascia.
Lose weight as much as you can. Extra
weight puts more stress on your plantar fascia.
Platelet Rich Plasma or
PRP therapy is a procedure which involves an injection
of special plasma, made out of the patients own blood, to the injured area. Platelets are special blood components that have a major role in the
body ability to heal itself. Blood is taken from the patient and separated into its components. The platelet rich part of the blood is than taken
and injected into the injured area - in our case to the bottom of the foot. The special plasma helps the foot recovery process. The procedure is
actually maximizing the body's natural healing response of the treated area.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is a
procedure which sound waves are targeted at the area of heel pain to
encourage healing. It is mostly used for chronic plantar fasciitis which
does not respond to conservative treatments. This
procedure has many possible side effects like bruising, swelling, pain or numbness and has
not proved to be consistently effective.
Corticosteroid injection (or cortisone shots) into the painful
area may provide relief in severe cases. This kind of medication is very efficient in inflammation reduction. Corticosteroid injections usually provide short-term
relief from plantar fasciitis pain. Symptom relief from
the corticosteroid injection lasts for 3 to 6 weeks, but the effect often deteriorates and symptoms return.
(botulinum toxin) are used to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis, assist
foot function recovery and the ability to walk better. Although the use of
Botox injections as heel pain treatment is relatively new, there are a
number of medical studies that show significant good results.
Surgery to release the plantar fascia
from its attachment may be considered in severe cases. Surgery is seldom required for people
with plantar fasciitis. Surgery would be recommended only if all the conservative plantar
fasciitis treatments fail and the patient had persistent symptoms for at least 6 to 12 months.
Self Care for plantar fasciitis
There are many self care treatment methods some discussed in the previous section treatment.
These methods are intended for informational purposes only. Please consult your
physician for specific treatment recommendations.
Rest the foot as much as you can, especially during the beginning of the treatment. Try to avoid unnecessary foot activity like running, or excess standing. Instead, perform exercises that do not put stress on the injured foot, like bicycling or swimming.
Apply ice to the painful area a few times a day to reduce inflammation. Try
rolling the arch of the foot over a tennis ball or a baseball. A good treatment is rolling the arch of the foot over a frozen soft drink can. This exercise cools and stretches the affected area.
You can use over-the-counter pain relievers (ibuprofen, naproxen) to reduce pain and inflammation.
Use an over-the-counter arch support or heel support.
Avoid walking barefoot, because it may add stress on the
Exercise your feet to make the muscles, ligaments, tendons and other parts stronger. Stronger foot muscles give better support to the plantar fascia preventing it from another injury.
Stretching the foot, the plantar fascia and the
calf muscles a few times a day is an essential part of treatment and prevention. There are many special stretching exercises for the foot and the calf muscles that you can find in our website.
This video will show you some basic plantar fascia stretching exercises you can do at home: