Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
The Ultimate Guide

By Lance Penn - Senior Podiatrist

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Plantar fasciitis treatment

Kicking Heel Pain for Good

Hey there, and welcome! If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re one of the millions out there battling the dreaded plantar fasciitis. Let me tell you, you’re not alone. As a podiatrist for over 20 years, I’ve seen countless patients hobble into my clinic with that familiar grimace from heel pain. Hopefully, I can bestow some years of experience in this guide, which will be your ultimate weapon in the fight against plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis treatment
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Plantar Fasciitis illustration

First things first: What is this plantar fascia you speak of?

Imagine a thick band of tissue stretching from your heel to your toes. That’s your plantar fascia, and it’s a crucial part of your foot’s arch. It acts like a shock absorber, distributing your weight and propelling you forward with each step. But overuse, tight calves, or certain activities can irritate this band, leading to inflammation – plantar fasciitis.

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Doesn't Sound Good! So what does plantar fasciitis feel like?

The pain is usually sharp and stabbing, often at its worst when you take those first steps in the morning. It might ease up as you walk, but then come back after long periods of standing or activity. Stairs can become your enemy, and forget about going barefoot on that lovely beach sand.

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But what caused this misery?

There isn’t a single culprit, but here are some common plantar fasciitis triggers:

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Okay, I think I might have plantar fasciitis. What should I do?

Don’t panic! Here’s your battle plan:

 

  • Self-care is key: This might be the most important step. Rest, ice the painful area (especially in the morning), and stretch your calves and plantar fascia regularly.
  • Shoe it right: Invest in supportive shoes with good arch support and cushioning. Replace your athletic shoes regularly, and consider night splints to keep your foot stretched while you sleep.
  • Pain relief matters: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can help manage the discomfort.
  • No naked feet: Avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces
  • Slowly, Slowly: Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your physical activity
  • Lean on me: Consider using arch supports or orthotics if you have high or low arches.  
  • Calories are king: Maintain a healthy weight to reduce strain on your feet. 
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1. Rest and Ice Therapy

Rest and ice therapy are two of the most effective treatments for plantar fasciitis. Resting the affected foot can help reduce inflammation and allow the plantar fascia to heal. During rest, it is essential to avoid any activities that cause pain and to minimize weight-bearing on the foot.

Ice therapy is also very effective in reducing inflammation and pain. Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce swelling and numb the pain. Ice therapy can be done by placing an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

Rest and ice therapy can be used together or separately, depending on the severity of the plantar fasciitis. In many cases, rest and ice therapy can provide significant relief from pain and inflammation, and can help speed up the healing process.

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2. Stretching Exercises

One simple stretch that can be done at home is the calf stretch. To do this stretch, stand facing a wall with one foot in front of the other. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height and lean forward, keeping your back leg straight and your front knee bent. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Another effective stretch is the plantar fascia stretch. To do this stretch, sit in a chair and cross one foot over the other knee. Hold the toes of the crossed foot and gently pull them back towards the ankle, until you feel a stretch in the arch of the foot. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

It is important to perform these stretches regularly, at least once or twice a day, to see the full benefits. Additionally, it is important to avoid overstretching or bouncing, as this can cause further damage to the plantar fascia. If you experience any pain or discomfort during stretching, stop and consult with a healthcare professional.

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Tried all that and still in pain? Don't suffer in silence!

If self-care isn’t cutting it, a podiatrist like myself can be your hero. We can:

 

  • Diagnose plantar fasciitis: We’ll examine your foot, assess your pain, and rule out other conditions.
  • Develop a personalised treatment plan: This might involve exercises, custom orthotics for extra support, laser or shockwave therapy to reduce inflammation, or even night braces.
  • Help you prevent future flare-ups: We’ll work with you to identify and address any underlying causes, like strengthening your core or improving your running form.
Walking on Treadmill
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Learn More About
Plantar Fasciitis Treatments

A comprehensive assessment to work out exactly what is going on with your foot and leg movement that can be creating stress on the plantar fascia

Custom-made or prefabricated orthotics can be used to treat a variety of foot and ankle conditions. These include flat feet, high arches, and plantar fasciitis.

K-Laser therapy is a treatment option for plantar fasciitis that uses light energy to target the affected area.

Shockwave therapy  is a treatment option for plantar fasciitis that uses high-energy pulses to help speed up healing.

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