Initial plantar fasciitis treatment
As with most muscle and ligament injuries, the best form of plantar fasciitis treatment in the first instance is rest. The plantar facia ligament plays a large role in absorbing the weight and pressure created by walking and running. To give it time to heal, you need to literally take the weight off your feet. This rather pleasant form of plantar fasciitis treatment can be supplemented by ice packs and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, to reduce swelling.
In many instances, this fairly basic plantar fasciitis treatment will be all that you need to allow the ligament to heal, and the majority of cases will resolve within a few weeks. After that, you need to make sure you make some changes to prevent recurrence.
When to seek further plantar fasciitis treatment
If your heel pain does not go away with rest and anti inflammatory treatment, it is important to consult your GP or a qualified podiatrist. Prolonged plantar fasciitis can cause greater damage and require more aggressive medical plantar fasciitis treatments. If you don’t investigate plantar fasciitis treatment early enough, you may find that you change the gait of your walking or running to compensate for the pain, causing an imbalance that leads to problems elsewhere in the system, including your back and hips.
There is a range of plantar fasciitis treatments that your GP or podiatrist can offer to promote healing and then prevent the pain coming back.
Plantar fasciitis treatment – night splints
One of the most effective plantar fasciitis treatments is a night splint. When we rest, especially overnight as we sleep, the plantar fascia ligament tightens up, causing pain to plantar fasciitis sufferers as they take their first steps. Night splint plantar fasciitis treatment keeps the ligament stretched overnight preventing this tightening and promoting healing in the tissues.
A similar affect can be achieved with careful taping, which stretches the ligament, easing the pain and promoting healing. Your podiatrist or physiotherapist will show you how to do this plantar fasciitis treatment for yourself.
Plantar fasciitis treatment – orthotics
Another common plantar fasciitis treatment, both in the short term for pain relief and as an ongoing preventative measure, is the use of orthotics. These are insoles that are inserted into the shoes to correct the gait of the stride or movement of the foot, by providing arch and heel support. Padded or gel orthotics can be highly effective in pain relief as they spread the weight and absorb the impact of walking or running, while carbon fibre insoles are often used in the long term to prevent recurrence of plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis treatment – injections
In severe cases, where the pain is extreme or persistent, corticosteroid injections can be used as a plantar fasciitis treatment. These are often administered in conjunction with a local anaesthetic with the injection guided by an ultrasound scanner to ensure that it is delivered to exactly the right place. There are, however, significant risks with this kind of plantar fasciitis treatment, including the weakening and possible rupture of the plantar fascia. For this reason, injections may be limited to maximum of three in six months.