Rest is by far the best non-invasive treatment for plantar fasciitis. Reducing your level of activity is the best means by which to achieve immediate relief, and to give the fascia time to repair itself for a long-term solution to heel pain. Fortunately, most people (about 95% of sufferers) experience a significant reduction in pain within six weeks of treatment, and are often back to a normal level of activity shortly after.
If excess weight is contributory to your plantar fasciitis diagnosis, your doctor may suggest ways for you to safely exercise as an overall weight loss program in order to lessen your symptoms – with the obvious benefit of improving overall health. Low-impact exercise may help increase blood flow, circulation, and keep your muscular system limber in order to facilitate healing as part of an overall treatment plan. Naturally, this should be considered a lifestyle change rather than a short-term solution to the pain of plantar fasciitis. Reducing your weight will not only reduce your likelihood of developing plantar fasciitis in the future, you will also reduce you likelihood of other chronic pain caused by carrying excess weight. You can also avoid later, more serious complications such as diabetes, which have grave consequences for both your mobility and your overall quality of life.
Another effective component of treatment for plantar fasciitis is completing a daily regimen of stretching exercises as prescribed by a doctor, podiatrist, or orthopedic specialist. Stretching works by decreasing the amount of tension in the fascia, which provides relief from the heel pain and a long-term solution for the underlying cause of the irritation. Runners may especially benefit from a regular habit of stretching before and after exercise. In general, it is recommended that runners (and those participating in any type of cardio or strength training exercise) stretch adequately before and after any workout. This practice increases blood flow to the muscles and loosens them, which can prevent serious injuries from occurring. Taking extra care to engage in plantar fascia stretching may keep the fascia limber, and reduce the minor tears and trauma associated with the increased impact of running or other strenuous exercise. For an explanation of stretches for plantar fasciitis
In the short term, the use of anti-inflammatory medication may relieve pain and allow plantar fasciitis symptoms to dissipate. Though this should not be considered a long term treatment option, your doctor may prescribe an over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or, depending upon the severity of your case, a prescribed anti-inflammatory medication. It bears repeating that over-the-counter medications are not a long-term solution for plantar fasciitis, since this manner of treatment only mitigates the symptoms of the disease without addressing the underlying cause of the pain. Treating pain without treating the cause will simply invite further deterioration of the plantar fascia, to the point where more invasive therapies may become necessary to correct the issue at its core. These are to be used under the supervision of your doctor or orthopedist, and only in conjunction with other courses of treatment.
One element of recovery essential to continued progress in treating plantar fasciitis is to adjust your habits to minimize continued aggravation of the plantar fascia. The most essential element of this change continued use of supportive footwear that will reduce stress on the fascia. While many people typically go barefoot while at home, treatment of plantar fasciitis should be considered a multi-faceted approach. Continual use of footwear with proper arch support will go a long way to alleviating the immediate symptoms, and help you make progress towards lasting pain relief. You should avoid non-supportive shoes such as sandals and flip-flops, which make your foot work harder and in turn can aggravate the sensitive tissues of the plantar fascia. You may want to invest in a pair of shoes that address your specific orthopedic issues (such as high or low arches, and flat feet) in order to head off future flare-ups of plantar fasciitis before they occur.
In cases where plantar fasciitis is caused by a severe structural deficiency in the foot, your doctor or orthopedist may prescribe orthotic shoe inserts to help stabilize your stride and provide the plantar support necessary to create long-lasting relief from your symptoms. Orthotics are special inserts worn in your current shoes, custom designed to your foot in order to give you a neutral foot position while walking, running, or at rest. Once prescribed, your doctor will take a cast of your feet, from which a mold will be created to design your orthotic inserts. Note than orthotic inserts require the user to “build up” wear time over several days or weeks, as they are typically a hard insole meant to manipulate your posture and stride. Your doctor can prescribe an overview of the process to adjust to your orthotics. General information about orthotic insert use can be found. Click here to select good orthotic insert for plantar fasciitis
Another orthopedic device for the treatment of plantar fasciitis is a night splint. Available either over the counter or as prescribed by your orthopedist, night splints are a type of brace worn during resting hours that hold the feet in a consistent position, with the toes pointed up (called dorsiflexion). This positioning creates mild, consistent tension on the plantar fascia. This alleviates first-of-the-morning pain, because the stretching that typically occurs when one gets out of bed is achieved instead by the continual foot positioning of the brace.
Orthopedic Pain Relief
Less invasive and less expensive than orthotic inserts, heel cups are a small insert placed in your shoe that gives your heel a small amount of extra support in order to alleviate pain and discourage overuse during the healing process. These can provide some level of relief from the pain, and may encourage healing for mild aggravation of the plantar fascia. For more pronounced cases, there are other orthopedic devices available.
For more advanced plantar fasciitis, daytime use of an orthopedic air cast in concert with nighttime use of a splint may provide some relief from pronounced symptoms when rest is not possible. While this is not a permanent solution for the effects of plantar fasciitis, it may give the sufferer enough relief that daily physical activity is still possible.
For more information on the complete range of orthopedic devices used to treat plantar fasciitis.
For the small percentage of plantar fasciitis sufferers whose symptoms do not respond adequately to less invasive forms of treatment, your doctor may suggest more aggressive therapeutic approaches to alleviate symptoms and allow the fascia to heal over time. Cortisone injection, delivered directly into the injury site, is one method that has shown great effectiveness in mitigating the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. As with any medicinal treatment option, it is important to understand that cortisone injection is not a cure, so much as a way to make every day activities more tolerable and alleviate pain as the body begins to heal.
In very rare cases were plantar fasciitis symptoms are not alleviated by the above courses of treatment, your doctor may suggest a surgical solution to your case. In plantar fasciitis surgery, the plantar fascia is partially cut in order to relieve the tension and help reduce inflammation of the plantar fascia. This is a day surgery, minimally invasive, and typically has a very positive prognosis for healing and lasting relief from symptoms. To learn more about plantar fasciitis surgery