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Plantar Fasciitis

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When To Call a Doctor

If you think you might have plantar fasciitis, call your doctor. The earlier a doctor diagnoses and treats your problem, the sooner you will have relief from pain.

Call your doctor immediately if you have heel pain with fever, with redness or warmth in your heel, or with numbness or tingling in your heel.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Pain that continues when you are not standing or bearing any weight on your heel.
  • A heel injury that results in pain when you put weight on your heel.
  • Heel pain that does not getter better after a week, even though you have tried rest, ice, over-the-counter pain medicine (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen), and other home treatment.

Call your doctor if you have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and the home treatment you agreed on is not helping to control your heel pain.

Watchful waiting

If you have heel pain:

  • First, try resting and icing your heel. If possible, stop or reduce activities that cause the pain, such as running, standing for long periods of time, or walking on hard surfaces.
  • Try different shoes. Make sure they have good arch support and well-cushioned soles. Or if your current shoes are in good shape, try heel cups or shoe inserts (orthotics camera.gif) to cushion your heel.
  • Switch to other activities or exercises that don't put pressure on your heel. After your symptoms are completely gone, gradually resume the activity that was causing pain.
  • If you are an athlete, do not ignore or attempt to "run through" the pain. This can lead to a chronic problem that is more difficult to treat successfully.

Who to see

The following health professionals can evaluate and diagnose plantar fasciitis and recommend nonsurgical treatment:

If nonsurgical treatments fail to relieve your pain, your doctor may refer you to a specialist such as an orthopedist or podiatrist. If you are an athlete, your doctor may refer you to a sports medicine specialist to look for problems with how your feet strike the ground, how your feet are shaped, or your training routine.

The following health professionals can do surgery:

  • Podiatric surgeon
  • Orthopedic surgeon, especially one who specializes in foot and ankle conditions
  • Sports medicine surgeon

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 18, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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