Treating Heel Pain from Plantar Fasciitis
For many people with plantar fasciitis, the situation is the same every morning:
You wake up and are ready to get out of bed – but you hesitate. You dread putting your feet on the floor, because you know you will be bet with a sharp jolt of pain in your heels as soon as you do. The next few moments will be spent limping about until the pain starts to subside.
Does that sound familiar? You’re certainly not alone if it does!
Morning heel pain – as well as heel pain when you start moving after any extended period of activity – is one of the most common signs of plantar fasciitis.
The good news, however, is that there is plenty that can be done to effectively treat plantar fasciitis. In most cases, symptoms can be improved or fully eliminated within a few months using conservative treatments. Surgery is very rarely ever necessary.
Let’s learn more about this condition and what can be done to find relief.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is aggravation or injury to the plantar fascia. This is a strong band of thick tissue that runs beneath the foot, forming part of the arch along the way. The plantar fascia not only serves a role in the structure of the foot, but also flexes a bit like a bow as you walk, storing and releasing energy.
While the plantar fascia is strong, it can still become overwhelmed by too much force or pressure. This strain can cause tiny tears and inflammation, as well as pain and discomfort.
Pain in the morning or after inactivity is such a common symptom because the plantar fascia shortens as it “cools down” during those times. When you start moving again, the plantar fascia is forced to stretch, reaggravating the band and potentially reversing any natural repairs the body has been able to make.
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
To treat heel pain from plantar fasciitis the most effectively, you must know what’s causing the strain. Unless you address the specific causes, the problem may keep repeating itself.
There are a number of different ways the plantar fascia can become overstressed. Some of them include:
- An imbalance in foot structure (such as high arches or flat feet) that causes too much weight to shift to the plantar fascia.
- Pushing your body too hard during physical activity, either all at once or by not giving your body enough time to rest (long-distance runners are at a pretty high risk for this).
- Wearing shoes that don’t provide proper support or cushioning.
A case of plantar fasciitis is never quite “cookie cutter,” so we will always take the time to fully evaluate the situation and discuss all the potential factors with you. With all the information we need in hand, we can then recommend a course of treatment to best suit your needs.
Potential parts of a treatment plan might include one or more of the following:
- Rest and offloading of weight, when possible
- Anti-inflammatory medication or cortisone injections
- Changes to your footwear
- Changes to your activity levels and exercise routines
- The use of custom orthotics to address imbalances in weight distribution
- Equipment such as night splints to help hold the plantar fascia in a stretched position and reduce morning pain
- Specialized stretches and exercises to condition and strengthen the plantar fascia and connected parts
- Advanced treatments such as amniotic injections to accelerate healing of the plantar fascia
- Shockwave Therapy
When we say surgery is rare for plantar fasciitis, we mean it. It is only considered if conservative methods fail to work, or it is clear from the start they would not.
Whatever we recommend for your heel pain treatment, we will happily discuss all the options with you and answer any questions you may have.
Start Fighting Back Against Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis (and most other forms of heel pain, for that matter) hardly ever vanish on their own. Don’t keep enduring that discomfort any longer than you have to!
Call either of our area offices to schedule an appointment:
We’ll be happy to see you!