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Characterized by a sharp pain or burning ache in the heel while walking, plantar fasciitis is a risk to athletes, pregnant women, the elderly, overweight individuals, or anyone who is on their feet for long periods every day. To avoid long-term symptoms and complications, managing plantar fasciitis treatment should be a top priority. Luckily, there is a wide range of solutions designed to relieve the pain, stiffness, and swelling of this condition. Continue reading to learn more about ways you can reduce and prevent plantar fasciitis at home or with the help of a medical professional.
As with all injuries, the body needs time to repair a damaged plantar fascia. One of the simplest treatments for the condition is taking time to rest the foot until symptoms become more manageable and inflammation subsides. Avoid painful activities like running or long distance walking, since these place the most stress on the arch of the foot. Changing to more supportive footwear or plantar fasciitis insoles can make these activities less painful.
While we sleep, tissues that connect to the heel bone are placed in a non-weight-bearing position through the night, causing them to tighten. In the case of plantar fasciitis, performing stretches before getting out of bed can help make them more flexible, reducing the incidence of foot pain. Check out our complete guide below to learn effective stretches, exercises, and treatment options you can do at home.
For long-term treatment, both hot and cold therapy can offer their own benefits. When applied at the proper time, each can be used for pain management and controlling inflammation. Heat therapy is best used prior to exercise to increase blood flow to the area and allow for easier movement. Ice can be applied to control inflammation after exercising as well as managing pain.
Taping is a cost-effective technique that alters how the joint moves in order to correct an abnormality. The tape sticks securely to skin and pulls on the connective tissue and muscles to support and guide the plantar fascia Taping has been shown to reduce stress on the plantar fascia by offering an additional layer of support and preventing overpronation. It is an effective short term solution to pain and swelling, and when used in conjunction with other treatment methods and can prove beneficial toward recovery and prevention of plantar fasciitis symptoms.
Heel, foot and calf massage is a good way to temporarily help reduce pain and allow for an increase in blood flow to the area, which aids the healing process. Rubbing an injured area is a universal response to a pain stimulus and can be effective even for a condition such as plantar fasciitis, especially after an activity such as walking or running.
Supportive shoes are the foundation to a healthy plantar fascia. The right pair will allow for proper foot movement while preventing overpronation, or excessive strain on the heel during push-off. A padded sole will also give support to the heel, arch, and achilles tendon, reducing strain and preventing irritation. Be sure to use shoe inserts to supplement adequate support and avoid shoes like sandals and flats, which lack the support needed.
Insoles and orthotics for plantar fasciitis are designed to relieve pressure on the heel and forefoot, both areas that bear pressure when walking. These orthopaedic shoe inserts can be custom fit by podiatrist or simply purchased over the counter to relieve pain. The more pressure that can be relieved during walking and running, the less irritated the plantar fascia will be.
Calf stretchers are an easy way to stretch the plantar fascia, while also working the ankle, calf, and heel. It’s specialized design locks the foot in dorsiflexion, gently bending it backwards to extend the arch of the foot. With regular use, this can make the foot more resilient to stretching and bending while walking.
Try a stretch sock or night splint to prevent plantar fasciitis symptoms from creeping up while you sleep. They are both able to leave the foot in dorsiflexion overnight, preventing the ligaments in the arch from tightening up. They are easy to wear and can be adjusted to your personal comfort level.
A stretch strap is a versatile piece of equipment that can effectively stretch legs, back, and feet. It’s simple to use, with durable woven nylon loops that makes it easy to perform the dozens of exercises listed in the user manual.
Massage balls allow for a hard textured surface to massage the affected area and can be heated or cooled based on need. The direct pressure on the heel and arch of the foot can help relieve heel pain and allow the body to relax, slow the inflammation process, and loosen ligaments.
Arch supports deliver support to the medial portion of the foot to prevent overpronation while walking. This in turn will reduce stress on the plantar fascia, reinforcing high arches and gait throughout regular activities.
One of the best treatments for inflammation are compression stockings. By applying medical grade compression to the arch, heel, and ankle, these stockings increase blood flow and reduce swelling. They are not only a good treatment for the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, but can speed healing as well.
Ice packs are vital to treating plantar fasciitis, as one of the main tools used to fight inflammation in the arch, heel, or calf muscles. Cold therapy reduces inflammation and acts as a natural analgesic to manage pain and soreness.
While home treatments can be helpful, the guidance of a physical therapist can be a big help when building an effective therapy program. Professional help will ensure you eliminate pain completely in order to return you to your activities and avoid chronic issues.
Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen may be beneficial to manage heel pain and inflammation. Always consult your family physician before starting a new pain relief medication in order to ensure that it is safe and does not interfere with any other medications you take.
If the plantar fasciitis has worsened to the point where self-management and medications are not effective, a steroid injection may be beneficial. Cortisone is the most common option and can help reduce inflammation temporarily, which can maximize the effectiveness of exercises and allow the ligament to heal.
A tenex procedure is a minimally invasive surgery that uses ultrasound to identify damaged tissue. The goal is to remove the damaged ligaments to allow healthy tissue to grow. These procedures are a last resort and only used when other measures have failed.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy uses micro pulses of electricity, which are introduced to the affected area to stimulate healing. This will jumpstart the recovery process by encouraging proper blood flow.
Surgery is recommended when all other options fail or if there is a heel spur in addition to the plantar fasciitis that would need to be removed. The most common procedures involve cutting the plantar fascia ligament to reduce tension and ease swelling.
If managed correctly, plantar fasciitis doesn’t have to be difficult to treat. All it takes is the right stretches, equipment, and guidance, to enjoy walking once again. Talk with your doctor to develop the safest regimen to meet your needs and continue reading through our guide to learn more about how to treat, manage, and eliminate your plantar heel pain for good. If your pain persists or gets worse, seek help from a medical professional.
Sources:SHOP PLANTAR FASCIITIS PRODUCTS