Initially, podiatrists treat plantar fasciitis with conservative treatments such as rest, anti-inflammatory medication, arch supports and night splints. If these treatments fail, podiatrists may perform a simple surgery to treat plantar fasciitis.
With the right treatment plan, this type of foot problem usually improves within a few months. To recover faster and make sure there are no other injuries, you should see your podiatrist (foot doctor).
Should I Go See a Podiatrist for Plantar Fasciitis?
If your heel hurts when you take your first steps in the morning, you might have plantar fasciitis. It can be a very painful foot condition, but there are ways to relieve the stabbing pain and get back to your normal activities.
Podiatrists are foot and ankle care specialists who can help treat plantar fasciitis. They are trained to treat all sorts of problems with the foot and ankle.
Image Credit: Daniel Max/flickr
How Do Podiatrists Fix Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot (plantar fascia) gets all fired up and inflamed. While some people try to live with plantar fasciitis heel pain, ignoring the issue can lead to chronic pain.
Thankfully, many different treatments effectively address plantar fasciitis. Severe cases can be treated with steroid injections or surgery. However, plantar fasciitis treatment often involves a combination of different methods as there is no one-size-fits-all cure for this foot condition.
Conservative Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis
Heel pain is one of the most common foot problems we see at Adelaide Foot and Ankle. The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This type of heel pain can make it hard to walk, especially in the morning.
To ease heel pain, the main solution is to provide foot and arch support. Avoid going barefoot and ditch flip-flops or thin slippers. If necessary, your podiatrist will recommend special boots to wear at night.
Wearing over-the-counter arch supports, supportive athletic shoes, or shoes with a slightly higher heel can help take pressure off the injured ligament and reduce pain. That being said, wearing custom orthotics is the best long-term solution for treating plantar fasciitis.
Night splints are devices that keep a steady pull on the ligament during the healing process. It does this by maintaining the foot at a 90-degree angle to the lower leg, and it can be a plus for getting plantar fasciitis on the mend.
Walking Boot, Canes or Crutches
Your GP may recommend using one of these for a short period to help keep your foot still or to prevent you from putting your full weight on it. But to help even out the pressure on your feet, they might recommend over-the-counter or custom-made arch supports, also known as orthotics.
Rest, Ice Massage, Compression & Elevation (RICE)
Simply reducing your activity level often helps relieve heel pain. At the end of a long day on your feet or after engaging in sports, consider applying an ice massage.
Also, wrapping your foot with a bandage or using special tape can help reduce swelling. Moreover, lying down and elevating your feet can help improve blood circulation, allowing trapped blood in your lower body to flow back toward your heart.
In more acute cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or OTC pain relievers are often combined with physical therapy. The treatment may be extended for several weeks to achieve the best results.
Doing the right stretching and strengthening exercises each morning and night can help your foot heal faster and reduce your chances of getting plantar fasciitis again.
If home remedies like pain medication, rest and ice don’t help ease your plantar fasciitis pain, your doctor may suggest seeing a physical therapist.
Your physiotherapist will teach you stretching exercises to beef up your plantar fascia, Achilles tendon and leg muscles. They might also throw in some massage, contrast baths or ultrasonography to aid in long-term healing.
However, if your plantar fasciitis pain doesn’t improve after a few months, your foot doctor(podiatrist) may suggest a more intensive treatment, such as injections or surgery.
Surgery and Other Treatments
If the heel pain from your plantar fasciitis isn’t getting better after a few months of giving home remedies and physical therapy, your podiatrist might recommend some more intensive treatment options such as:
Injecting steroid medicine into the affected area can give you a bit of temporary relief. However, the best way to do this is to see a podiatric surgeon who can use diagnostic ultrasound when giving a steroid injection. First, the podiatric surgeon will block your ankle nerve and then they can give a steroid injection to the plantar fascia without pain..
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy
This method involves using sound waves to treat chronic heel pain that has not improved with other treatments.
Ultrasonic Tissue Repair
This minimally invasive technology uses an ultrasound image to guide a thin, needle-like tool into the damaged plantar fascia tissue. The tip of the tool then vibrates rapidly to break up the damaged tissue, which is then sucked out.
Surgery is often the last resort if other treatments do not help relieve the severe pain you are experiencing. The goal of the surgery is to make the plantar fascia longer, which helps reduce the tension on it and relieve pain. This is done by cutting a portion of the plantar fascia near the heel bone and then letting scar tissue fill in the gap from that cut. This is safely and easily done in the office.
Get Help With Plantar Fasciitis at Adelaide Foot and Ankle
Adelaide Foot and Ankle’s podiatrists are experts in treating plantar fasciitis and associated heel pain. We use the latest technology to create a personalised treatment plan for your foot problem that fits your lifestyle and budget.
Contact our Adelaide podiatrists with over 70 years of combined experience in treating all sorts of foot problems can get back on your feet as quickly and safely as possible.
What is the best treatment for plantar fasciitis?
Whilst surgery may be necessary in some cases of plantar fasciitis, conservative treatment is usually the best option for most people. Wearing supportive shoes, cushioning, and a firm heel can help ease plantar fasciitis pain. Custom orthotics or shoe inserts from a podiatrist can provide extra support and help reduce strain on the plantar fascia, which can promote healing.
Are heel spurs the same thing as plantar fasciitis?
No. Heel spurs are bony deposits that form on the heel bone. They can grow bigger and start to press on the plantar fascia, which can lead to plantar fasciitis. But they are not the same thing as plantar fasciitis.
Should I walk on my foot with plantar fasciitis?
Walking can make your plantar fasciitis worse, which means your treatment will take longer. Whilst walking itself doesn’t necessarily inflame the ligament, wearing the wrong shoes or doing too much too soon can trigger a plantar fasciitis flare-up.