Your plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the sole of your foot, from your heel to your toes. It supports your arch and absorbs shock with each step you take — but overuse can irritate it and lead to a painful condition called plantar fasciitis.
About 10% of people suffer plantar fasciitis in their lifetimes. It’s characterized by foot pain that’s worse in the morning and after long periods of rest, and if you’ve noticed the pain, you know how it can interfere with your daily life.
Guillermo Duarte, MD, and our team at Manhattan Orthopedics specialize in plantar fasciitis treatment. We work with people of all ages to reduce inflammation and relieve pain — and here are five of the most effective treatments we recommend.
How to treat plantar fasciitis
When you come to Manhattan Orthopedics with foot pain, we take a comprehensive approach to your care. Dr. Duarte examines your feet and asks about your symptoms before diagnosing you.
If you have plantar fasciitis, we usually prescribe a combination of treatments, including:
Overuse is one of the top causes of plantar fasciitis, and rest is one of the most effective treatments. Dr. Duarte may tell you to avoid activities that cause foot pain, like jogging on hard surfaces or standing for long periods of time, for a few weeks to give your body time to heal.
He may also suggest icing your foot throughout the day. Ice therapy helps reduce inflammation and pain, so try applying ice three to four times a day for about 10 minutes at a time.
Tight muscles and tendons in your feet and legs often make plantar fasciitis pain worse. Gentle stretches can relieve tension and reduce pain.
Dr. Duarte can show you how to do specific calf and foot stretches for plantar fasciitis. Stretching in the morning and several times throughout the day builds strength and flexibility to manage your plantar fasciitis symptoms.
Along with stretches, Dr. Duarte may prescribe night splints. A night splint is a brace that you wear on your foot while you sleep, and it keeps your foot gently flexed to help relieve plantar fasciitis pain.
3. Anti-inflammatory medication
Plantar fasciitis pain develops when tendons in your feet get irritated and inflamed. To combat inflammation, Dr. Duarte often recommends taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs). If you don’t get relief with over-the-counter medication, tell Dr. Duarte, and he may prescribe different pain relievers.
4. Supportive footwear (or orthotics)
For many people, unsupportive shoes and poor foot mechanics contribute to plantar fasciitis symptoms. Flat feet, high arches, foot pronation, and other issues only get worse when you wear shoes that don’t fit properly.
Well-fitted shoes can fix biomechanical issues and support your feet to reduce discomfort. Dr. Duarte may recommend buying shoes with cushioned soles and built-in arch support. He may also suggest custom orthotics for plantar fasciitis, which are medical devices designed just for your feet.
5. Heel injections
If you still have pain after trying noninvasive treatments, it might be time to try heel injections. Dr. Duarte offers steroid and cortisone injections, which deliver stronger medication directly to your foot. Heel injections can fight advanced inflammation and reduce your need for surgery.
Plantar fasciitis can make every step painful, but the good news is that it’s treatable. Book an appointment with Dr. Duarte and our team at Manhattan Orthopedics to get your diagnosis, and start finding relief.