Plantar fasciitis is a condition that affects the foot and causes pain in the heel and arch. It can be caused by overuse, ill-fitting shoes, or poor posture. While surgery is one option to treat plantar fasciitis, there are other more conservative treatments available that don’t involve going under the knife. Let’s take a look at a few of plantar fasciitis treatment alternatives.
What Are Conservative Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options?
For any type of heel discomfort, there are several different treatment options available. The most suitable option for you will depend on the origin of your pain, your lifestyle/career choices, and other individual factors. A thorough evaluation is a great way to reveal all the necessary information that can help us determine which course of action would be best for you.
To help you cope with your condition, we suggest a variety of non-surgical treatments that may include:
Rest is often the most effective remedy for heel pain, but it can be enhanced by icing and elevating your feet. In some cases, ceasing activities that caused or exacerbated the problem may be necessary in order to give your body time to heal. However, this does not mean you have to remain inactive; alternative exercises with low impact on the affected area are available as a means of staying active while healing takes place.
Related: Introducing the Potential of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) for Plantar Fasciitis
2. Physical Therapy
Apart from cutting back on certain exercises, it is also wise to incorporate supportive strength and range of motion-building activities. Such activities may encompass anything from stretches, and weightlifting movements, to balance drills among other alternatives.
3. Custom Orthotics
If the cause of your heel pain is abnormal foot structure or gait, we may prescribe a custom-made orthotic insert to help support crucial areas and reduce excessive force. Wearing these special inserts in your shoes can correct motion while providing relief from the painful area.
4. Night Splints, Taping, or Strapping
To reduce the discomfort of plantar fasciitis, night splints can be employed while sleeping to help keep strained tissues in a better position. Additionally, taping or strapping the arch of your feet may aid in diminishing tension and providing more comfort for other conditions.
Related: What can a Professional Podiatrist do for Plantar Fasciitis?
5. Medication or injections
To treat more extreme pain while a condition is healing, anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications can be used. In certain scenarios, doctors may also suggest corticosteroid injections; however, the specifics of a patient’s needs must be taken into account as well.
To reduce the pain caused by plantar fasciitis, stretching is one of the most powerful treatments available. It helps to increase flexibility in your feet and calves, allowing you to move freely without discomfort. To start off on the right foot (pun intended!), warm up before beginning any exercises such as toe stretches, heel drops, towel stretches, wall stretches, calf raises, or ankle circles. Doing this will ensure that you get the maximum benefit from each stretch.
7. Ice Therapy
People often rely on ice therapy to alleviate their plantar fasciitis symptoms. This type of treatment is quite effective since it helps reduce inflammation and pain levels in the targeted area. To take advantage of its benefits, you need to apply an ice pack or cold compress directly onto your foot for 10 minutes at least three times a day. If that’s not possible, just wrap a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and put it where needed- simple as that!
8. Over-the-Counter Medications
Ibuprofen and naproxen are two popular over-the-counter medications that can be used to treat plantar fasciitis without surgery. These products help reduce the inflammation of this condition, thus relieving discomfort from flare-ups. However, it is essential to remember that these drugs should not be taken regularly as prolonged use may lead to stomach issues when consumed in large doses or too often.
If the conservative treatment does not provide sufficient pain relief or fails to work, then you should strongly consider undergoing extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). This procedure is highly successful in resolving lingering issues and reducing stress on sore areas.
What is ESWT and how does it work
ESWT is an advanced, cutting-edge treatment option that utilizes acoustic shockwaves to break up soft tissue calcifications. This process also stimulates your body’s natural healing mechanisms and helps increase collagen production, releasing growth factors while relieving pain so you can keep living an active lifestyle.
This form of therapy stimulates blood flow and speeds up the healing process in bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles that are difficult to treat.
This portable ESWT machine packs a punch with its interchangeable heads that direct targeted or more widespread stimulation when positioned against the skin. Housing a projectile inside of it, this device can reach powerful speeds up to 62 mph courtesy of compressed air which propels the projectile within a tube. At impact, energy is converted into acoustic pressure waves which vary in depth according to varying heads; for example, some applicators penetrate tissue as deep as 6 cm! This makes ESWT far surpasses massage and at-home treatments available on the market today.
ESWT not only helps bypass surgery and treats conditions that cannot be healed through a procedure, but it also aids 18+ patients in avoiding numerous steroid injections which can cause long-term tissue deterioration.
Prior imaging is not requested prior to initiating ESWT, yet X-rays can always be recommended if needed in order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately, this treatment option should not be given to those with a tumor, who are pregnant, or whose tendon has ruptured.
In conclusion, plantar fasciitis is a common and painful condition that can affect people of any age. Treatment options range from simple resting to over-the-counter medications and ice therapy. However, if these do not provide relief then extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) should be considered as it is one of the most effective and advanced treatments available today. It can provide long-term relief with minimal side effects, and help people avoid surgery or multiple steroid injections. With ESWT, those suffering from plantar fasciitis can get back to their normal activities pain-free.