How to treat plantar fasciitis

April 16, 2019 | by Priya Jimmy, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

If you’re super active (think runners or fast-paced sports enthusiasts), there’s a good chance you’ll deal with plantar fasciitis at some point.

Even if you’re not the most active person, you could develop this irritating condition that causes pain in your heel that’s most noticeable after a long period of rest.

Plantar fasciitis develops when the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot connecting your heel to the front of your foot, becomes damaged or torn, and consequently, inflamed.

The inflammation can cause the pain in your heel and stiffness in your foot.

Frequent running is a risk factor for this ailment, as well as tight calf muscles, significantly high arches and obesity.

Your doctor will check for pain points on your foot to diagnose the condition. Sometimes a doctor will recommend an X-ray to make sure it’s not a stress fracture causing your pain.

Once diagnosed, the fix is non-surgical, though it can take a while (six months to a year) to ease the symptoms.

  • Rest your foot. You might have to give up your high-intensity runs for a while so your foot has time to heal. Find a soft surface to jog on instead, or try a different, lower-impact activity.
  • Apply ice. Rolling your foot over a frozen water bottle and stretching your calf can help relieve some of the pain associated with this condition.
  • Try over-the-counter pain/anti-inflammatory medicine. Talk to your doctor about how long to use over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen. Your doctor may recommend a cortisone injection to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Keep moving—and stretching. The tighter your calf and foot muscles are, the worse the plantar fasciitis will feel. Night splints keep your foot flexed while you sleep, which helps reduce the inflammation and pain by stretching the ligament.
  • Cushion your steps. Shoe inserts can help reduce the tension on your plantar fascia as you walk.

Most people will be able to heal their feet with this treatment regimen. Some doctors also recommend physical therapy. If, after a year of non-surgical treatment, the pain continues, your doctor may recommend surgery.

Dr. Priya Jimmy is an internal medicine physician with Elmhurst Clinic. View her profile and schedule an appointment online.

The foot care experts at Edward-Elmhurst Health have the advanced tools, technology and experience to diagnose and treat foot and ankle problems to get you moving again. Learn more.

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