The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that connects your toes to your heel bone. When inflamed, the plantar fascia causes serious pain in the bottom of your foot that is often most prominent when you first get up in the morning or stand after a long period of sitting.
Plantar fasciitis often affects runners and people who have flat feet or high arches and people who are on their feet a lot.
At Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, we see many patients with plantar fasciitis pain. Our treatments —like splinting, movement modification, and orthotics — can help you heal in 6-12 months.
The following at-home strategies complement your treatment and help you heal quickly.
Icing may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s an effective way to reduce inflammation. Wrap a towel around an ice pack or a plastic bag filled with crushed ice.
Place the ice pack on the affected heel for 15-20 minutes, three to four times every day.
Get to a healthy weight
Being overweight adds more pressure to the plantar fascia and can aggravate inflammation. If you’re carrying extra pounds, make an effort to change your diet and choose low-impact exercise to help you slim down.
Skip the uncomfortable shoes
We can help you choose shoes that support your feet. Skip shoes with high heels and poor support. Wear those that have a low to moderate heel, thick soles, good arch support and extra cushioning. Support is key. Flat shoes or going barefoot can also aggravate plantar fasciitis pain.
Replace your athletic shoes often
When your athletic shoes have too many miles on them, they lose the ability to support and cushion your feet. We can advise you when it’s time to go shoe shopping.
We can show you how to apply athletic tape to support your foot and keep it from moving in a way that aggravates your plantar fasciitis.
You may adore walking, running, or dancing, but when you have plantar fasciitis, these activities only make your pain worse. They also prevent your feet from getting the rest they need to heal.
We recommend a low-impact option like swimming or cycling as you allow your feet to recover from plantar fascia.
Self-care complements medical help
These self-care steps complement our treatments to help you heal from plantar fasciitis sooner. Without diligent care, plantar fasciitis can become chronic and very difficult to resolve.
Take advantage of the physical therapy and orthotics we can offer to help change how your gait and foot structure affect the connective tissue.
Over-the-counter medications can ease your pain, but remember that they won’t heal it and could make you feel good enough to continue activities that will only aggravate your condition.
Caring for severe, chronic plantar fasciitis
If self-care measures and noninvasive methods of treatment don’t work, we may recommend injections of steroid medication to provide temporary pain relief. This medication can ease your pain so you’re able to participate in physical therapy, which offers long-term relief.
You may also benefit from extracorporeal shock wave therapy, which involves directing sound waves to the area of pain to stimulate healing. Surgical repair for damaged tissue is a last resort when severe plantar fasciitis doesn’t respond to other treatments.
If you’re struggling with plantar fasciitis pain, we at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists are here to help. Call our Bethesda or Germantown, Maryland, office at 301-515-0900 or set up an appointment here to get a comprehensive evaluation.