Most people with plantar fasciitis experience heel pain the worst when they wake up, and also when they get up after sitting for long periods. Read more to learn about this condition, including common plantar fasciitis symptoms, home treatment options, and how we can help.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis affects the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, it can cause pain, inflammation, and soreness, resulting in plantar fasciitis.
Exercising without adequate rest, spending a lot of time on your feet on hard surfaces, poorly fitted shoes, and having tight calf muscles are common causes of the condition. Many patients have multiple factors contributing to their plantar fasciitis. They can benefit from an assessment by our podiatrists to help identify their particular contributors and develop a personalized treatment plan.
At-Home Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options
While it can be disruptive, plantar fasciitis is highly treatable with the right approach. In many cases, patients can resolve their symptoms at home by making some simple changes.
Poor footwear strains your plantar fascia. The resulting inflammation can cause chronic pain, which worsens when standing or sitting for long periods. Shoes with a prominent arch, like heels, can be particularly problematic.
Flip-flops, flats, and shoes that are too tight can lead to inflammation. Even bare feet all the time are not recommended as this forces your foot to be flatter than it should be.
It is important to choose footwear that supports your foot’s natural structure. You also need adequate cushioning to prevent your feet from absorbing too much force while you walk.
Change Workout Schedule/Routine
Consider more low-impact exercises, like pilates or water aerobics. If you enjoy jogging or more intensive sports, consider limiting the amount of time you do them. You could reduce the frequency of these exercises per week or the duration of each session.
It is also vital to have rest days that allow your feet to recover from any strenuous physical activity. While it may not feel so at the time, your feet are always taking a tremendous amount of pressure.
Exerting more weight and force during exercise can even cause microtears in the plantar fascia. Without giving them time to naturally heal, you can experience prolonged heel pain.
Do Stretches and Exercises to Help Strengthen Muscles
Stretches help lengthen and relax tight muscles, which can cause and worsen heel pain. Stretching your calves is a good way to ease tension between the legs and heel. Additionally, you can try stretches that specifically target the feet.
When seated on the ground, stretch your legs out in front of you. Wrap a rolled-up towel around your foot, and gently pull backward. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite foot.
Another good way to gently massage and stretch the plantar fascia is by rolling a tennis ball beneath your foot from heel to toe.
Working with our team can also help you build a custom stretching routine that eases the tension caused by your most frequent activities. For the most remarkable results, it is good to stretch your feet and calves once or twice a day. You should also always properly warm up and cool down with targeted stretches after exercise.
Other Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options at Our Offices
If you notice that at-home treatments are not working enough, the team at Midwest Podiatry is here for you. Below are some of the treatment options we can offer when you visit one of our Minneapolis podiatry offices.
The foot is a complex structure, and it needs a lot more support than many people realize. While over-the-counter shoe inserts can help with some issues, they are not long-lasting or always suitable for plantar fasciitis.
Custom orthotics are made to fit your foot and give it the exact support it needs. It provides ample cushioning in all the right places, and can even change how you distribute weight or when you lift your heel while walking.
Our podiatrists might suggest custom orthotics for treating plantar fasciitis. We use state-of-the-art 3D modeling to create a detailed blueprint for your insert. It offers all the corrective support you need to walk and stand pain-free.
MLS Laser Therapy
We use MLS laser therapy to heal soft tissues by triggering the body’s immune response. Microtears and inflammation can make plantar fasciitis a painful daily condition, but MLS laser therapy can help. In addition to resolving your current pain, it can help heal your plantar fascia so it no longer hurts in the future.
We provide MLS laser therapy in our Edina, MN, office. You do not need to do anything special or different before a session, and you can go right back to your usual routine after a quick, in-office treatment.
Cortisone shots are anti-inflammatory injections that help reduce pain. They can reduce swelling of the plantar fascia for up to 6 months. However, these are not a cure-all for the condition. They can be damaging if taken in excess, so they are best reserved for pain management while you work on a more long-term solution with our podiatrists.
In Very Rare Cases, Surgery May Be Needed
Surgery for heel pain is rare. Only 5% of people with plantar fasciitis require surgical intervention. That being said, surgery may be beneficial for severe cases that do not respond to professional treatment. Also, if your plantar fascia is ever torn, you could need surgery to help it heal properly.
At our offices, we do everything we can to help patients avoid surgery. Personalized, conservative treatments are highly effective for the majority of people.
Make an Appointment With Us Today
Find a solution to your heel pain with personalized, compassionate care. We are always here to answer any questions you have about plantar fasciitis and recommend the right treatments for your needs.