Plantar Fasciitis

Available treatments for this painful foot condition.

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia -- the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. This condition often is caused by overuse or injury, and it’s commonly suffered by runners and avid walkers.

Symptoms can range from mild and annoying to incredibly painful. Plantar fasciitis symptoms may include pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel or burning and aching in the bottom of the foot. The condition affects mobility, making it painful to walk, run, and jump.

Plantar fasciitis treatment options

Our podiatrists (foot care doctors) typically recommend conservative treatment first, such as:

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Applying ice to the painful area twice daily for 10 to 15 minutes (or more often in the first few days)
  • Exercises to stretch the heel and foot
  • Resting the foot as much as possible for at least a week
  • Wearing a heel cup, felt pads in the heel area, or shoe inserts to alleviate pressure
  • Wearing a splint while sleeping to stretch the foot
  • Wearing shoes with good support and cushioning

If these treatments do not work, your doctor may recommend:

  • Custom-made shoe inserts (orthotics)
  • Steroid shots or injections into the heel to reduce inflammation
  • Wearing a boot cast, which looks like a ski boot, for three to six weeks

In severe cases, foot surgery may be needed to cure plantar fasciitis.

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