Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain that involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Here are some ways to manage, treat, and prevent plantar fasciitis:
1. Rest and Ice: Rest your feet as much as possible to reduce inflammation. Apply ice to the painful area for 15-20 minutes three to four times a day or after activity.
2. Stretch and Strengthen: Stretching exercises for your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia can help relieve pain and improve flexibility. Strengthening the muscles in your foot and lower leg can also provide better support to the plantar fascia.
3. Wear Supportive Shoes: Wearing shoes with good arch support and a slightly raised heel can reduce stress on the plantar fascia. Avoid walking barefoot or in shoes with thin soles.
4. Use Orthotics: Over-the-counter arch supports and heel cups can help reduce symptoms. A podiatrist or physical therapist may recommend custom orthotics for more severe cases.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the stress on your plantar fascia.
6. Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design a series of exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and to strengthen lower leg muscles.
7. Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce inflammation and pain. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting a new medication.
If conservative treatments aren't helping after several months, your doctor might suggest:
1. Steroid Injections: Injecting a type of steroid medication into the tender area can provide temporary pain relief.
2. Shock Wave Therapy: Sound waves are directed at the area of heel pain to stimulate healing. This procedure might cause bruises, swelling, pain, numbness, or tingling and has not been shown to be consistently effective.
3. Surgery: Few people need surgery to detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone. It's generally an option only when the pain is severe and other treatments have failed.
It's essential to consult with a healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment recommendations for plantar fasciitis. They can provide advice tailored to your specific situation and needs.