While there are many different causes of heel pain, plantar fasciitis can be one of the most excruciating. If the plantar fascia, or heel ligament, gets strained, it can weaken and become inflamed, causing discomfort while standing or walking. Most people can treat plantar fasciitis pain fairly easily with medication and rest, and even recover completely within a few months.
People with plantar fasciitis should try to walk less overall. When pain is severe, people can elevate their feet, avoiding unnecessary walking for a few days at a time. In place of running or walking, athletes can temporarily switch to biking or swimming for exercise. Stretching the plantar fascia, calf muscles, and Achilles tendon can also provide comfort.
Various medications can help treat plantar fasciitis pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDSs) like naproxen and ibuprofen can relieve suffering. Corticosteroids applied to the skin through an electric current or an injection can also alleviate pain, though they can also cause the area to weaken even further. It should be noted that these medicines will not cure the cause of the pain itself.
Many sufferers can treat plantar fasciitis pain with simple home remedies. Ice applied to the affected area can help with pain. This should be done by holding a cloth-covered ice pack over the area three to four times a day for 15 to 20 minute intervals. An ice treatment can also be given following any physical activity.
Some people treat plantar fasciitis pain with a cold ice massage. A person can easily do this by himself by filling a paper cup with water and freezing it. Rolling the frozen ice cup over the site of pain for five to seven minutes at a time can lessen both the discomfort as well as the inflammation causing it.
Other patients might treat plantar fasciitis pain with over-the-counter arch supports. These are placed directly into a person's shoes. Arch supports can help relieve symptoms by absorbing the tension and shock the plantar fascia normally experiences. There is no evidence to suggest that inserts with magnets are any more or less effective than supports without magnets.
Physical therapy may be needed to treat severe pain. A variety of exercises could be prescribed to strengthen muscles. Athletic taping may also be given to the patient to help support feet. Splints may also be recommended to the patient. These are usually meant to be worn during sleep, and help stretch the the area without patient effort. Custom arch supports might also be prescribed.