The plantar fascia is responsible for the chronic foot pain associated with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is the connective tissue that begins on the bottom of the heel bone and continues all the way along the sole toward the toes.
How to identify Plantar Fascia Pain
During an examination, the symptoms can be recognized in several ways; the individual cannot bend their foot appropriately toward their shin, and often it is associated with knee pain as well. The pain is usually at its worst when a person rises and tries to take the first steps after a period of resting. It is also not uncommon for heel spurs to be associated with plantar fasciitis. The heel spurs do not cause the problem, it is actually just the opposite.
Here are 8 Plantar Fasciitis Treatments people find effective.
1. Use Corticosteriods
Treatment for the condition can include medication, and therapy prior to any surgical means. Initial medication may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the pain and swelling. Some of these medications are available without a prescription however, they are often not enough to alleviate the pain.
One of the more popular medications are corticosteroids which can be injected at the site of the pain.
The downside of these injections is that cannot be done too frequently due to the risk of damaging the plantar fascia. Therapies can include exercises involving the stretching of the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon. Strong lower leg muscles will help with support.
2. Tape Up
Using athletic tape to support the bottom of the foot is also done. A physician will often recommend night splints be worn overnight. The splint must be fitted to the calf and foot in order to hold the plantar fascia and Achilles in a certain position. The physician may also construct or prescribe orthotics which can help distribute the pressure on the foot when walking to make it more comfortable.
3. Wear a Night Splint
To allow your plantar fascia to heal, you often need to reduce the mobility of your foot so the damaged ligaments and micro-tears can heal. This takes time AND you need to bind your foot somehow to reduce the mobility. One of the more effective and popular methods is to do so at night using what’s called a night splint. You wear the night splint on the affected foot which reduces the mobility of your foot while you sleep and prevents you from further aggravating your plantar fascia.
In the morning, you remove the splint, perform some stretches, and wear a good set of shoes that provide a lot of support. In time, this routine may just heal your condition.
4. Stretch It
One of the common ways to alleviate plantar fascias pain is to perform some key stretches in the morning (and before doing any sort of extended physical activity that involve walking. Read our article on stretches here.
5. Wear The Right Shoes
You might think walking around with barefeet will relieve your plantar fascia pain, but alas, this makes the condition worse. One of the ways to minimize the pain AND allow your plantar fasciitis to heal over time is to wear proper footwear. The right footwear offers solid support for your arches, shock absorption, and motion control when you walk. All three of these in a shoe reduce the trauma induced on your plantar fascia when you walk (or run) and allow your foot to heal on it’s own.
Keep in mind though, finding the right pair of shoes is not easy. Because everyone has both a different foot type and unique strides when walking, the best shoes for plantar fasciitis are often individualized. It’s not uncommon for people to try 2, 3, or even 5 different pair of shoes before finding one that does not aggravate their plantar fascia condition.
We’ve written a detailed guide to the best shoes for plantar fasciitis here
if you want some specific recommendations.
6. Use Orthotics
Orthotics or shoe inserts as they are called can provide additional heel and arch support to your shoes. This is essential if you want your plantar fasciitis condition to heal over time or at the very least not aggravate further. For best results, you want a pair of shoes that offer good support and motion control. You can then fine tune the shoe support with orthotic inserts.
Depending on how good your shoe is and how bad your plantar fasciitis is, you may or may not need to use orthotics.
7. Shock Yourself!
If the chronic pain should fail to respond to medication and therapy, surgery or other procedures may be necessary. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy directs sound waves at the location of the pain to try and encourage healing. The procedure itself can cause swelling, bruising, pain and numbness. The results have not been completely consistent with this treatment. It does become necessary for a few people to undergo surgery when other methods do not work. The surgery actually detaches the plantar fascia from the heel bone. This procedure usually leads to weakening of the arch in the foot.
8. Try Some Home Remedies
Some home remedies that may relieve chronic pain include arch supports that can be purchased over-the-counter. There are some over-the-counter arch support products available that included magnets however, it has not been proven that these are any more likely to relieve chronic pain than those without. The application of an ice pack for between 15 and 20 minutes four times a day can relieve swelling. Instead of exercise that requires running or walking, try swimming instead. Stretch the arches to strengthen them at every opportunity. The best way to keep from having the condition is to always wear good shoes with support and keep a healthy weight.