Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and is experienced by millions of Americans each year. Although many cases are brief and mild, some linger for weeks or longer, significantly hampering your ability to enjoy daily activities without pain or restriction.
If you’re sick of dealing with heel pain, it’s time to do something about it! Fortunately, most cases of plantar fasciitis respond very well to conservative therapies, helping you avoid a surgical solution. Here are some of the best ways to topple that pain for good:
- Resting. We know—the pain is worst right after a rest. But the tears in the tissues themselves are often caused by repetitive trauma from physical activity like running or sports. Taking a temporary break from those activities gives the plantar fascia more time to heal properly.
- Icing. A protected ice pack (wrapped in cloth to avoid direct contact with skin) can help with pain and swelling, especially after activity. Limit icing to 15 minutes at a time, with at least an hour in between sessions.
- Stretching. A number of standing and seated stretches for calves, feet, and toes can help you ease tight, inflamed tissues, as well as prevent future problems. This blog will give you a few specific ideas on stretches to try.
- Shoe choices. High heels, flats with no support, beat-up tennis shoes past their prime, shoes that just plain don’t fit, or that aren’t the right choice for your chosen activities can make plantar fasciitis pain much worse. Always make sure your shoes are in good shape and right for your feet.
- Medications. If your doctor gives the go-ahead, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever when necessary to offset spikes in symptoms. For tougher pain, we may provide a direct injection of an anti-inflammatory steroid.
- Pampering. A nice foot massage or warm foot soak can be a great way to relax and relieve pain for many people.
- Custom orthotics. Biomechanical flaws in foot structure or the way you move—flat feet, for example—are a very common contributing factor for plantar fasciitis. Custom orthotics are the best way to deal with such issues, since they’re specially made with your feet in mind. Check out this blog to learn why.