Initial treatment continued...
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.
physical therapy instruction can help make sure you properly stretch your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia ligament. Doctors usually
consider surgery only for severe cases that do not improve.
Treatment if the condition gets worse
Your doctor may suggest
corticosteroid shots if you have tried nonsurgical
treatment for several weeks without success.1 Shots
can relieve pain, but the relief is often short-term. Also, the shots themselves can be
painful, and repeated shots can damage the heel pad and the plantar
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 If you are one of the few people whose symptoms don't improve
in 6 to 12 months with other treatments, your doctor may recommend
plantar fascia release surgery. Plantar fascia release
involves cutting part of the plantar fascia ligament in order to release the
tension and relieve the inflammation of the ligament.
- Plantar Fasciitis: Should I Have Surgery for Heel Pain?