How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis

Three Methods:Trying Non-Medical RemediesSeeking Medical TreatmentPreventing Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the flat ligament on the bottom of the foot that runs between the heel and the foot pad is stretched in an awkward position. If the plantar fascia is strained, small tears may develop in the ligament. As a result, the ligament becomes inflamed, making it painful to put pressure on the affected foot. Generally, plantar fasciitis causes heel pain that can either be minor or can actually affect your ability to walk. The good news is that only about 5 out of every 100 people end up needing surgery, while an overwhelming majority of people are able to cure the condition using simple home remedies or a physical therapy routine. Read on below to find out what you can do to ease your plantar fasciitis pain immediately and discover other treatment options if the pain does not subside.[1]

Method 1
Trying Non-Medical Remedies

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    Give your feet a rest. One of the best things you can do for plantar fasciitis is to limit the amount of time you spend on your feet. The less pressure you exert on your heel, the more time it will have to heal. Additionally, try to avoid exercising on hard surfaces like concrete when you are experiencing pain. Opt for running on grass or an all-weather rubber track if possible.
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    Perform easy stretches. Stretch your toes and calves throughout the day to prevent stiffness from occurring. By loosening up the ligaments, you can strengthen the muscles around your arch and relieve pain.
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    Rub ice on your heel. Doing so can help reduce inflammation and can ease the pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Better yet, place a golf ball or a full water bottle in the freezer and use it to massage the bottom of your foot once frozen. Make sure to massage the inside of your arch thoroughly to try to reduce inflammation and ease tension.[2]
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    Avoid using heating pads if pain increases. While some people receive relief from heating pads, heat can also cause inflammation that can make symptoms worse. If you do choose to use heat to treat your symptoms, make sure to alternate between a heating pack and an ice bath or pack. Always end with an ice treatment.
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    Try wearing night splints with you are sleeping. Night splints position the foot at a perfect 90-degree angle to the ankle and hold the toes in an upward position to stretch the arch of the foot. This prevents stiffness and cramping from occurring during the night and allows you to maintain a constant, light stretch throughout the night.
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    Wear a walking cast on your calf. A walking cast holds your foot in place with a traditional cast for several weeks. This method is a bit more expensive and requires a substantial time commitment of inactivity. Additionally, you will likely have to undergo some level of light physical therapy after the cast is removed to restore flexibility.

Method 2
Seeking Medical Treatment

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    Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine. Household pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin can all help reduce inflammation and bring some relief to your foot. Choose either pill or cream form. If you choose to take a pill, make sure to eat something beforehand. If using a cream, simply cover the affected area and allow it to soak in.
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    Visit a physical therapist. Before turning to surgery to relieve the symptoms of your plantar fasciitis, consult a physical therapist to determine whether or not your condition can be treated with a guided stretching and rehabilitation program. A physical therapist appointment should be scheduled after exhausting all of the non-medical treatments listed above and before resorting to invasive medical procedures like surgery.
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    Get corticosteroid shots. Corticosteroid shots can ease the symptoms of plantar fasciitis by temporarily relieving pain. However, these shots are not a long-term solution to curing the problem. Be aware that while much less invasive than surgery, the shots can still be painful. Over-administration of shots may also lead to damage of the heel.
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    Undergo extracorporeal shock wave therapy. This procedure sends sound waves to the painful area to relax the muscles in your foot. Shock wave therapy is usually prescribed for people who have not seen any results from home treatments for more than six to twelve months. Side effects include bruising, swelling, pain, and numbness. While less invasive than surgery, it has also proven less effective.[3]
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    Resort to plantar fascia release surgery. If none of the above methods have helped relieve your symptoms over a year-long period of time, plantar fascia release surgery may be necessary to cure your symptoms. This surgical process ultimately releases tension and inflammation in the plantar fascia ligament by snipping part of the ligament itself.
    • Be patient with non-surgical treatments before opting for surgery. Allow yourself at least six to 12 months of trying non-invasive treatments before choosing to go ahead with surgery.
    • There are several risks associated with plantar fascia release surgery. These include: nerve entrapment or tarsal tunnel syndrome, development of a neuroma, constant heel pain and swelling, infection, long recovery time, and delayed ability to heal the wound.[4]

Method 3
Preventing Plantar Fasciitis

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    Wear shoes with good shock absorption and the right arch support for your foot. Athletic shoes or shoes with a well-cushioned sole are usually good choices.
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    Place orthotics in your shoes. Put heel cups or full shoe orthotics in your shoes to add extra cushioning for your feet. These are particularly helpful for shoes that are uncomfortable already. Make sure that you balance out your feet by using orthotics in both shoes, regardless of whether or not you are experiencing pain in both feet. Unbalanced shoes can cause pain. Have an expert determine if you overpronate or over supinate when you walk and/or run and and prescribe custom orthotics or insoles.[5]
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    Avoid going barefoot. Put on your shoes before walking around at all, even around your house. Purchase comfortable house shoes with good support to wear as slippers. This is where you can really nurture your feet with supportive shoes. Since you're only wearing them around the house, it doesn't matter what they look like! And let's face it, the best-looking shoes are usually the most uncomfortable.
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    Try losing weight. In some cases, the extra pressure put on a person's heel as a result of being overweight can make a case of plantar fasciitis much worse. As is always advisable, implement a diet and exercise routine to achieve a healthy weight for your height and age.[6]

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Categories: Health Hygiene