What is the Best Treatment for Heel Pain from Plantar Fasciitis?

T. Carrier

Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammatory foot ailment that impacts many individuals. Heel pain from plantar fasciitis is perhaps the chief complaint related to the condition. Diverse options are available for treating this foot pain, ranging from home remedies to medical solutions. The effectiveness of each type of treatment ultimately depends on the individual and his or her unique situation.

Ice packs are a common home remedy for heel pain.
Ice packs are a common home remedy for heel pain.

An inflammation of thick tissue in the bottom of the foot — known as the plantar fascia — facilitates heel pain from plantar fasciitis. Factors that may cause this inflammation include running, weight gain, abnormal foot arches, heel injury, and problems with the Achilles tendon. Swelling with associated tenderness and redness around the heel is another other common symptom that coincides with the stabbing heel pain from plantar fasciitis. Thick knots in the tissue or bones — known as plantar fibromas or bone spurs — may also derive from plantar fasciitis.

Before scheduling surgery, a podiatrist will investigate non-surgical options to treat plantar fasciitis.
Before scheduling surgery, a podiatrist will investigate non-surgical options to treat plantar fasciitis.

Self-help will often relieve plantar fasciitis symptoms. Some claim that exercises involving heel and calf stretching for around 15 minutes a day have resulted in marked improvement among sufferers. Stretches of the heel and Achilles tendon following morning wake-up have particularly demonstrated benefits. Ice packs applied to the affected area offer home remedy as well. The ice should be applied directly to the painful area for around 15 minutes roughly four times a day.

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Casts present another option for plantar fasciitis treatment. Short casts that run from the heel to the knee offer relief for some afflicted individuals. Cast boots, which resemble the shape of a ski boot, may also be utilized. The duration for wearing the cast varies, but some patients may need up to six weeks of cast treatment. Casts should be worn full-time, except in special circumstances like bathing.

Other over-the-counter foot support devices may provide relief. One such option is the night splint, a strapping device placed around the heel and lower leg. The splint maintains the foot in a flexed position while in bed, thus strengthening muscle flexibility and relieving heel pain from plantar fasciitis.

While drugs are a viable option for some individuals afflicted with plantar fasciitis, their success is often less notable than with other treatments. Among the commonly promoted medications are anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin. Some physicians also prescribe steroid injections. This treatment can be painful, however, and repeated injections may even risk rupturing the plantar fascia.

Surgery is perhaps the treatment of last resort, reserved for the most severe cases. Surgical procedures may be invasive or non-invasive. Numerous unpleasant side effects and risks could be of consequence: infection, nerve injury, and increased pain chief among the dangers.

The best treatment option differs depending on the severity of the injury and the individual health issues of a patient. Prevention is an important step from which everyone can benefit, however. Warm-up exercises, comfortable shoes with strong arch support, weight maintenance, and foot rest all provide important preventative measures for heel pain from plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis could cause feet to hurt in the morning.
Plantar fasciitis could cause feet to hurt in the morning.

Discussion Comments

anon940844

Great post! I find the biggest thing with PF treatments is the overabundance of information amount that is available. To stretch, not to stretch, etc. I have found King Brand makes the best treatment that I have seen.

But more to the point, one thing everyone should be aware of is the difference between Plantar Fasciitis and Fasciosis -- a huge difference!

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