What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a painful acute or chronic condition of the foot. Pain typically is felt most strongly around the inside of the heel and results from an inflamed plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia is a band of connective soft tissue that bridges the heel to the toes. When inflamed, it can cause severe pain and affect the foot’s arch support.
Plantar fasciitis typically causes the most pain when first standing in the morning or after long periods of rest.
Plantar Fasciitis Prognosis
Fortunately, over 90% of cases of plantar fasciitis are self-limiting. In these cases, no treatment option is needed.
In other more serious cases, however, plantar fasciitis may become chronic. For these individuals, medical treatment may be the preferred option.
If you think you may be suffering from chronic plantar fasciitis, it’s important to seek medical attention. With corrective action, most patients see a full recovery in a matter of weeks to months.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options
The treatment prescribed for your plantar fasciitis will likely depend on its severity. Although you should speak with your doctor to see what option may be best for you, some common treatment plans include:
- Plantar Fascia Stretches
Plantar fascia stretches have been shown to be among the most-effective of plantar fasciitis treatments.
This treatment involves stretching the plantar fascia to help improve elasticity and reduce inflammation.
Because experts believe that most cases of plantar fasciitis result from the accumulation of stress to the plantar fascia, these stretches offer a way to treat the condition at its source.
Perhaps this is why stretching has been proven to be 92% effective at limiting and even eliminating plantar fasciitis pain.
1. Arch-Supporting Shoes
Arch-supporting shoes are another popular treatment option.
These medically-designed shoes can help properly support the arch of your foot and take some of the burden off your plantar fascia.
The good news is that several new brands of arch-supporting shoes are so stylish you would never guess they’re designed for medical purposes. For example, Viakix has a fashionable line of comfortable walking sandals for women who need extra arch support.
What’s even better is that these shoes for plantar fasciitis are so effective at helping resolve plantar fasciitis that they’ve been deemed first-line treatment.
Though fully-designed arch-supporting shoes are best, for those on a budget, shoe inserts may provide some, but generally not full, pain relief.
2. Corticosteroid Shots
For those experiencing chronic plantar fasciitis pain, corticosteroid shots may be the first form of physician-administered treatment.
While effective at improving pain in the short term, however, these shots must typically be given every six months to keep pain at bay.
3. Hot and Cold Therapy
A combination of hot and cold soaks may help reduce symptoms. A common at-home treatment for plantar fasciitis, hot and cold therapy works best when done in combination.
For instance, many have found effective pain relief when soaking their feet in hot water and then briefly dipping them in cold water.
4. Walking Casts
Walking casts are another popular and extremely-effective medical treatment. These casts increase the dorsiflexion of an individual’s foot (giving them greater mobility and flexibility).
By doing so, walking casts relieve stress from the plantar fascia, helping patients recover more quickly and with fewer symptoms.
Finally, for those who have failed to find success with other treatment options, surgery for plantar fasciitis is available.
While many chronic sufferers do find relief with surgery, because of the invasiveness of the procedure, doctors typically use surgery as a last resort.
The Bottom Line
Plantar fasciitis is a common medical condition, with some estimates suggesting that 1 out of every 10 Americans will develop it at some point.
By following the steps above, you can help cut down on symptoms associated with the condition and help speed the recovery process.