Best Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis: An Overview

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain in the heel and arch of your foot. It can be caused by overuse, an injury, or other conditions. The pain usually occurs after long periods of standing or walking on hard surfaces such as concrete floors. In this overview, the foot and ankle specialists at Town Center Orthopaedics discuss possible at-home treatment options, including how to choose the best shoes for plantar fasciitis.

How Can I Treat Plantar Fasciitis At Home?

Treatment depends on the severity of the problem and how it affects your daily life. Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

 A medical illustration of the bones and tendons of the human foot, with arrows identifying the heel bone, heel spur, an area of inflammation, and the plantar fascia.

  • Heel pain and/or pain in the arch of the foot
  • Aching or stiffness in the foot when you first get out of bed
  • Difficulty putting weight on the affected foot
  • Swelling around the heel
  • Tenderness when applying pressure to the foot

If you have mild symptoms, you may need to wear shoes with good arch support and modify your activities. For more severe cases, you may need to see an orthopedic specialist who will recommend treatment options, including:

  • Resting the feet
  • Elevating the legs
  • Using ice packs
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications
  • Wearing custom orthotics

Exercises and Stretches For Plantar Fasciitis

Exercise and stretching are important parts of any recovery program, including an at-home plan to reduce plantar fasciitis symptoms. They help strengthen muscles and tendons and improve circulation.

These exercises for plantar fasciitis can help improve symptoms and provide relief:

Plantar Fasciitis Massage

  • Stand with one foot resting on a small tennis ball, golf ball, or frozen water bottle (a frozen bottle can help to reduce inflammation as you perform this exercise). You can also do this while sitting in a chair.
  • Roll the ball or water bottle gently forward and backward under your foot, beginning below the ball of your foot and ending right before your heel.
  • Do this slowly 10 times for each foot; two sets per foot.

Heel Raise

  • Position the balls of your feet at the edge of a bottom step while standing.
  • Slowly and gently lower your heels just below the step’s edge. You may feel a slight stretch in your calf muscle.
  • Slowly rise onto the balls of your feet.
  • After repeating this 10 times, rest.

Towel Stretch

  • Place a towel around the ball of the affected foot.
  • Keep your heel in contact with the ground and avoid bending your knee.
  • Pull the towel toward you until you feel the stretch in the bottom of your foot and back of your calf muscle.
  • Hold for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times, resting between stretches.

It is particularly useful to perform this exercise first thing in the morning or after a period of rest.

What Are the Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Relief?

Purchasing the right orthotic shoes or inserts may ease the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. To find the best shoes for plantar fasciitis relief, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Choose shoes made specifically for people with plantar fasciitis. These shoes provide extra cushioning and support.
  • Look for shoes with an open-toe design. This allows air to circulate between the toes and helps prevent blisters.
  • Wear shoes that fit correctly. Make sure they don’t pinch or rub anywhere on your feet.
  • Avoid wearing high heels if possible. High heels put stress on the arch of your foot and increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
  • Don’t continue to wear shoes that cause blisters. Blistering is a common symptom.

Get Expert, Patient-Centered Care

Millions of Americans experience foot and ankle pain and related conditions. Due to the complexity of foot and ankle anatomy, the expertise of an orthopedic foot and ankle doctor is key to developing an effective treatment plan, especially if conservative efforts to reduce pain are no longer working for you.

If you have painful symptoms, and if conservative treatments and exercises for plantar fasciitis aren’t working, it may be time to speak with one of our foot and ankle physicians. To schedule your evaluation with a foot and ankle doctor for your orthopedic needs, call Town Center Orthopaedics any time at (571) 250-5435, or request an appointment online.

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