The goals of treatment for
plantar fasciitis are to:
inflammation and pain in the heel.
small tears in the plantar fascia ligament to heal.
strength and flexibility and correct foot problems such as
pronation so that you don't stress the plantar fascia
- Allow you to go back to your normal activities.
Most people recover completely within a year. Out
of 100 people with plantar fasciitis, about 95 are able to relieve their heel
pain with nonsurgical treatments. Only about 5 out of 100 need surgery.1
that you start when you first notice symptoms is more successful and takes less
time than treatment that is delayed.
There are many methods you can
try to relieve the heel pain of
plantar fasciitis. Even though their effectiveness has not
been proved in scientific studies, these methods, used alone or in combination,
work for most people.2
- Rest your feet. Limit or, if possible, stop
daily activities that are causing your heel pain. Try to avoid running or
walking on hard surfaces, such as concrete.
- To reduce inflammation
and relieve pain, put
ice on your heel. You can also try a
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Advil or
Motrin, for example), naproxen (Aleve, for example), or aspirin. NSAIDs come in pills and in a cream that you rub over the sore area.
- Wear shoes with good shock absorption and the right arch support
for your foot. Athletic shoes or shoes with a well-cushioned sole are usually
- Try heel cups or shoe inserts (orthotics ) to help
cushion your heel. You can buy these at many athletic shoe stores and
drugstores. Use them in both shoes, even if only one foot
- Put on your shoes as soon as you get out of bed.
Going barefoot or wearing slippers may make your pain worse.
- Do simple exercises such as
toe stretches , calf stretches , and
towel stretches several times a day, especially when you first get up in the
morning. These can help your ligament become more flexible and strengthen the
muscles that support your arch. For more information, see:
- Plantar Fasciitis: Exercises to Relieve Pain.
Avoid using only heat on your foot, such as from a
heating pad or a heat pack for at least the first 2 or 3 days. Heat tends to make symptoms worse for some people. If you use
contrast baths, which alternate hot and cold water,
make sure you end with a soak in cold water. If you try a heating pad, use a low setting.
If your weight is
putting extra stress on your feet, your doctor may encourage you to try a
If nonsurgical methods such as
rest, ice, and stretching exercises help relieve your
plantar fasciitis symptoms, continue using them. If
you have not improved after 6 weeks, your doctor may recommend that you
continue those methods but add other nonsurgical treatments, such as:
shoe inserts (orthotics ). Custom-made orthotics
require a prescription. If your foot has an unusual shape or if you have a certain
problem that the device will help, then a custom-made insert may fit better and
control pain better than a nonprescription one.
Night splints . A night splint holds the foot with the
toes pointed up and with the foot and ankle at a 90-degree angle. This position
applies a constant, gentle stretch to the plantar fascia.
walking cast on the lower leg. Casting is somewhat
more expensive and inconvenient than other nonsurgical treatments. And after
the cast is removed, you will need some rehabilitation to restore strength and
range of motion. But a cast forces you to rest your foot.