What Will My Doctor Do for My Plantar Fasciitis?

If your first steps in the morning cause a stabbing pain in your heel, you may have plantar fasciitis. This inflammation of the plantar fascia -- the tissue that connects your heel to your toes -- is very common, especially for runners.

With the right treatment, this condition usually goes away in several months. To speed up your recovery and rule out other injuries, you may want to see your doctor.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will examine your foot to pinpoint where the pain is coming from. This exam, along with your medical history, will help her diagnose the condition.

Your doctor may also order imaging tests so she can rule out another cause of the pain. This could be something like a broken bone or pinched nerve.

Treatment

There are a few options your doctor could try to ease your pain and reduce inflammation in your foot. She might even recommend you try a few therapies at the same time. These include:

Medication . Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will help with your pain and reduce inflammation of the plantar fascia. Your doctor may prescribe multiple doses a day for several weeks.

Steroid injection. If your pain is severe or doesn't respond to prescribed NSAIDs, you might want to think about getting a steroid injection.

The steroid is injected into the most painful part of your plantar fascia. It will help ease your pain for about a month, But it will keep the inflammation down for even longer than that.

Physical therapy. If medication, rest, and ice don't help enough, your doctor might recommend that you go to a physical therapist.

You'll learn exercises to stretch and strengthen your plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, and lower leg muscles. Your physical therapist may also use massage, contrast baths, or ultrasonography to help with long-term healing.

If you don't show progress after several months, your doctor may recommend a more involved procedure or even surgery. These options include:

Shock-wave therapy. This literally “shocks” your plantar fascia with sound waves. It stimulates blood flow in the foot and helps the tissue heal. It also stuns your nerves to stop pain.

Continued

Tenex procedure. You only need a small cut and it's usually over in a few minutes. An ultrasound is used to target and remove scar tissue. This procedure allows you to get back to your regular routine in as little as 10 days.

Surgery. This operation takes your plantar fascia off of your heel bone. Surgery is usually the last resort if you have severe pain or a stubborn injury that other treatments don't help. You will probably go home the same day. Your doctor may ask you to wear a splint or boot and not put weight on your foot for a certain amount of time.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on December 20, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Plantar fasciitis."

Arthritis Foundation.

American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.

OrthInfo: "Plantar Fasciitis and Bone Spurs."

Medscape: "Plantar Fasciitis Treatment & Management," "Plantar Heel Pain Treatment & Management."

American Family Physician: "Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis," "Plantar Fasciitis: Evidence-Based Review of Diagnosis and Therapy."

U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Conservative therapy for plantar fasciitis: a narrative review of randomized controlled trials."

Highmark Health: "Easing the Heel Pain of Plantar Fasciitis."

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