Plantar fasciitis: You know it by the searing pain in your heel and the arch of your foot. This frustrating pain occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick tissue band connecting your heel bone to your toes, becomes inflamed or irritated. Plantar fasciitis usually develops due to high-impact activities like running, standing for too long, being overweight, and/or not wearing the right shoes. Even your age can play a role.
It's one of the most common foot problems, affecting around 1 in 10 people, and it can be debilitating, starting with your first steps in the morning and lasting throughout the day.
The good news? No matter what caused it, you have several treatment options.
Dr. Kelly Geoghan has over 25 years of experience treating plantar fasciitis with a lineup of treatments ranging from conservative to revolutionary. Here's an inside look at how we tackle plantar fasciitis and help you get back on your feet.
1. Rest and ice
When it comes to plantar fasciitis, sometimes all you need is to kick your feet up for a bit. Rest and ice are among the simplest and most effective strategies for mild cases of plantar fasciitis.
Resting your feet and applying ice to the affected area can significantly reduce inflammation and relieve pain. You can use ice packs or cold compresses on your feet for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times daily. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel to avoid direct contact with your skin.
We also recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication to help reduce inflammation and pain.
2. Stretching and strengthening exercises
Another simple way to address plantar fasciitis is to start stretching regularly. Stretching and strengthening exercises improve the flexibility and strength of your plantar fascia, relieving your pain and reducing the risk of further injury. Some simple at-home exercises you can do include calf raises and toe curls.
Talk to us if you want more pointers on how to work out your plantar fascia.
3. Footwear modifications
Wearing the right shoes can also go a long way in managing (and in some cases preventing) plantar fasciitis. Look for shoes with good arch support and plenty of cushioning for your heel. Avoid wearing shoes that are too tight or have high heels, as these can put additional strain on the plantar fascia.
4. Splinting and strapping
Night splints hold your foot in a flexed position while you sleep, which stretches the plantar fascia and reduces morning pain and stiffness. We can help you find night splints that are comfortable and effective.
During the day, strapping (special elastic tape wrapped around your foot) can control swelling and pain and encourage blood flow and mobility.
Orthotics are shoe inserts designed to support your foot and reduce stress on your plantar fascia. But don't go to your local store for orthotics. We tailor-make them to fit your foot exactly, correct structural abnormalities, reduce tension and strain on your plantar fascia and ensure proper pressure distribution across your foot.
6. Massage and physical therapy
Massage and physical therapy can also be effective treatment options for plantar fasciitis, loosening the muscles and fascia, strengthening your foot, and reducing pain and inflammation.
7. Weight loss
Your feet bear your body weight day in and day out. Forcing them to carry extra weight puts additional stress on your plantar fascia, prolonging your recovery and putting you at risk for future injury.
Talk to us about safe and healthy ways to lose weight and take the pressure off your feet.
8. Other therapies
We may recommend a more invasive approach for more advanced cases of plantar fasciitis. Those options include injection therapy, MLS laser therapy, and shockwave therapy. Though they're more involved than conservative measures, these therapies are still minimally invasive.
We only recommend surgically releasing your plantar fascia in the most severe cases.
Plantar fasciitis can make every step agony — but walk into our office, and you'll find hope in our comprehensive treatments and expert care. Don't wait. Call or click to schedule an appointment at our Lutherville, Maryland, office today.