8 Ways to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis Pain
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation and pain in the foot and heel area caused by irritation at the insertion point of the fascia, a thick band of fibrous connective tissue at the bottom of the foot that runs from the heel to the toes and provides support for the arch of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that is sometimes called jogger’s heel, tennis heel, or policeman’s heel, and may be incorrectly referred to as heel spurs.
Chronic plantar fasciitis may take anywhere from 3 to 12 months to go away with proper rest and other treatments, but there are some ways to help relieve the pain and stiffness more quickly for faster relief of symptoms.
- Massage the foot
- Use a golf ball, tennis ball, or even a frozen water bottle
- Roll the ball or bottle under the foot and apply pressure to spots that are painful
- Ice the foot
- Wrap the foot with an ice pack or a bag of frozen corn or peas
- Ice the area for 20 minutes up to four times daily, to help relieve pain
- Rolling a frozen water bottle under the foot can also help both massage and ice the foot at the same time
- Stretching exercises
- Orthotics to properly support the foot
- Splints worn overnight may be helpful to provide pain relief and a gentle stretch
- Strengthen the feet with a washcloth
- Put the washcloth on the floor, and using only your toes, try to pull the cloth under the feet
- Use toe separators
- These can help gently stretch and align the foot and toes and can be used while sitting or lying down
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy
- Stimulates nerves in the feet with small doses of electrical current, which helps improve blood flow and interrupts the body’s signals for pain
What Are Other Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis?
Other first-line treatment for plantar fasciitis is usually conservative and involves:
- Resting, which means stopping or limiting athletic activities where there is repetitive heel impact
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve)
- Wearing protective footwear such as athletic shoes, arch-supporting shoes, shoes with rigid shanks, or cushion-soled shoes with gel pad inserts or heel cups for temporary pain relief
- Taping the foot with a technique called "low-Dye taping" may help
- Avoiding wearing slippers or going barefoot
If conservative measures fail to relieve pain caused by plantar fasciitis, other treatments may include:
- Physical therapy
- Contrast baths
- Steroid injections in the foot to relieve pain
- Botulinum toxin type A injection for pain relief and overall foot function
- Walking cast
- Surgery is rarely needed for plantar fasciitis and is only recommended when all other treatments have failed symptoms persist for at least 6 to 12 months.
- Autologous blood injection, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection, nitroglycerin patches, and extracorporeal shock-wave therapy (ESWT) are treatments designed to create an acute inflammatory reaction and restart the healing process
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of fibrous connective tissue at the bottom of the foot that runs from the heel to the toes, is overly stretched and tears.
Risk factors for stretching and tearing the plantar fascia include:
- Participating in activities that cause repetitive impact to the heel such as running or dancing
- Improper athletic training
- Limited ankle flexibility
- Tight hamstrings or glutes
- Being female
- Wearing high heels
- Occupations requiring prolonged standing and weight-bearing
- Structural problems with the foot/ankle
- High or low arches
- Leg-length discrepancy
- Excessive lateral tibial torsion
- Excessive femoral anteversion
- Aging and heel fat pad atrophy
- Rheumatic disorders such as ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Image source: iStock Images