How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis Effectively

Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition. There are a number of effective plantar fasciitis treatments available which can put an end to the pain within no time.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition which causes inflammation of the plantar fascia which results in heel pain and sore soles of feet. Plantar fascia is the name given to a band of tissues that move along the arch of the foot and connect the toes to the heel bone.

The pain associated with plantar fasciitis is stabbing in nature and is often at its strongest during early morning. The pain usually subsides as the day wears on, though the pain might shoot up again if you stay seated or keep standing for a long time.

The condition affects people who run a lot the most. Along with runners, individuals who are obese or wear inappropriate shoes also remain at great risk of plantar fasciitis.

How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis  

With proper treatment, almost everyone can recover from the condition within a couple of months or so.

Initial Plantar Fasciitis Treatments and Home Remedies

In order to get relief from the stabbing pain in your heel, you can try a number of home remedie. While there is no scientific backing to prove the effectiveness of these remedies, they often work in a combination for most of the people.

Remedies

What to Do

Exercise regime

  • Try as much as possible to avoid all activities that lead to heel pain and keep your feet rested for as long as possible.
  • Avoid jogging or walking on concrete or other hard surfaces.
  • If you play a contact sport for entertainment or for keeping fit, you should try your hand at a different sport like bicycling or swimming.

Practices to get relief

  • Ice your feet, as icing decreases inflammation and reduces pain.
  • Avoid walking barefoot or in your slippers and keep your shoes close to your bed so that you can wear them as soon as you wake up in the morning.

Shoes and apparels

  • Avoid shoes which you aren’t comfortable in and which don’t provide you with good support.
  • Shoe inserts can also help in providing support to your heel.
  • Avoid using the same shoes for too long as they wear out quickly and stop providing enough support after you have walked/run over 500 miles with them.
  • Avoid heating pads as much as you can, as they often worsen the condition rather than improving it. If you feel the need to test the heating pad in order to check its effectiveness then make sure that it’s at a very low setting.

 

Lifestyle changes

  • Make sure that your weight is not responsible for pressuring your feet unnecessarily. If you are already overweight then you should start adhering to a weight loss diet.
  • Try doing simple stretching exercises that help you in stretching your toe and calf. These exercises would prove most effective when done daily during the early hours of morning. You can learn some effective practices in the latter part of the article.

Medications

If the pain persists then you can also use NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug) like Advil or naproxen. If you don’t like pills then NSAIDs are also available in cream form which needs to be rubbed over the affected region.

Ongoing Treatment

If plantar fasciitis treatment methods like rest and icing don’t prove effective in providing pain relief even after six weeks or so, you would be recommended to try a few more treatments in combination with icing and stretching exercises. These methods include:

  • Shoe inserts usually prove useful, but it’s actually a good idea to buy custom-made shoe inserts if your feet don’t have a normal shape. If a normal shoe insert doesn’t feel right for you then a custom-made orthotic may be the way to go.
  • A night splint is capable of holding the foot in a standing position along with the toes so that the foot makes a 90-degree angle with the ankle. The splint would be thus, able to keep on stretching your plantar fascia gently throughout.
  • Casting is another method which can prove effective as it would ensure that you rest your foot completely. You would need to go through rehabilitation in order to regain strength in your leg and in order to regain your range of motion once the cast would be removed.

Exercises As an Effective Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

1.       Plantar Fascia Stretch

In a plantar fascia stretch, you should first put the leg with the pain in heel on top of your sound leg. Then, hold the foot in which there is stabbing pain and pull the toes of that foot backwards. Don’t overdo it and try to find the appropriate limit by feeling your plantar fascia (arch of your foot). Once you find that it has gotten firm, then you should pulling your toe further. You should hold the plantar fascia stretch for ten seconds and do set of ten in one go.

2.       Toe Stretch

For a toe stretch, you should pick a chair and comfortably seat yourself on it. Once seated, you should move your affected leg so that your heel comes in contact with the floor. Then you should take your hand down to the big toe and pull it away from the ground. You should hold the toe stretch for a count of 15-30.

3.       Towel Stretch

A towel stretch requires you to roll a towel and then to place it beneath your foot while keeping the ends of the towel in your hand. You should then apply a gentle push on the towel in order to keep it moving towards you while at the same time ensuring that your knee remains straight. You should hold the towel stretch for a count of 15-30.

4.       Stretch Your Foot Arches

A foot stretch exercise is pretty simple. You should stand in front of a wall and bend the knee of your sound leg and take it close to the wall while applying pressure on the other foot. You should hold your stretch for around 30 seconds and do it in the form of sets of ten stretches thrice every day. 

Surgical or Other Procedures

If the regular conservative treatment for plantar fasciitis won’t work, your consultant might recommend the following treatments:

1.     Steroidal Injections

Steroids are well-known for their anti-inflammatory action and as a result, can provide instant pain relief when injected in the affected region. However, there is a limit to the injections that are recommended as multiple injections can weaken the plantar fascia and might result in rupturing it too.

2.     Shock Wave Theory

The therapy is geared towards directing sound waves over the area where the heel pain is at its maximum in order to initiate the healing process. Extracorporeal therapy is best reserved for chronic plantar fasciitis patients as it can actually result in bruising and numbness.

3.     Surgical Treatment

This is probably the last resort for plantar fasciitis treatment. Surgeries are very rare in the case of plantar fasciitis and are done to detach the heel bone from the plantar fascia. While the pain does subside completely with surgery, the major drawback is that the arch of your foot would weaken. 

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