Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the tissue connecting the heel bone and the toe gets inflamed and causes heel pain. Pain in heel after getting up and walking, prolonged standing are some of the common symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis can be diagnosed with an X-ray or MRI scan. Conservative treatments have been found to be effective in the majority of the patients suffering from plantar fasciitis. Conservative treatments include resting, putting ice on the painful area and stretching. Drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium have found to be effective in reducing the pain caused due to plantar fasciitis.
- Physical Therapy: A series of exercises as instructed by a physical therapist can help in treating the condition. Exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and lower leg strengthening exercises can help to stabilize the heel and the ankle. Athletic taping also helps in supporting the bottom of the foot.
- Night Splints: A splint can stretch the calf and the arch of the foot holding the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon. Putting the splint while sleeping can help in the stretching the stabilizing the heel and the ankle.
- Orthotics: Custom made arch supports can help in treating the condition effectively.
- Injections: Injecting steroids at the tender areas can help relieve the pain. It is not advisable to use the injections for a longer duration as they can cause the plantar fascia to rupture.
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: Sound waves are directed to the areas of pain to stimulate healing. Shockwave therapy is usually used in chronic conditions where the conservative treatment shows no positive result. This treatment might cause pain, swelling, and numbness.
- Tenex procedure: In this procedure, the scar tissues of plantar fasciitis are removed in a non- surgical procedure.
- Surgery: Some conditions require detaching the plantar fascia from the heel bone. Such a surgery is needed only when the pain is very severe and all other modes of treatment fail. The surgery does provide relief but it drastically weakens the arch
Taking care of the feet, wearing shoes that support the arch, exercises that stretch the Achilles tendons at the back of the heel are some of the preventive measures of plantar fasciitis.