What are the Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis?

by | Mar 7, 2023

The human body is a masterpiece, and over time, scientists and scholars have studied it to perfect diagnosis and treatment procedures. The limbs are a particularly interesting part of the body, and as Leonardo da Vinci once said, “the human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.” At Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists, we know the value of quality foot care and the threat that conditions like plantar fasciitis cause.

Among other foot pain problems that afflict at least 77% of Americans, plantar fasciitis is a challenge that we’re always keen to help patients understand. If you’re keen to learn more about plantar fasciitis, including the at-home and in-house treatment options available, you’re in the right place.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an irritation that is caused when there’s irritation to the plantar fascia, the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes. Normally, the plantar fascia is a tough and fibrous band of tissue that plays a vital role in the mechanics of our feet as we walk.

But when the tissue experiences stress, let’s say from increased weight placed on the foot or we engage in extreme exercises, it can get irritated. It’s the developing irritation, which can also come from stressors in the daily routine, that triggers plantar fasciitis.

Patients with plantar fasciitis experience a stabbing or sharp pain in the heel or bottom of their feet. The pain is usually triggered after extended periods of sleeping or sitting when the feet were free from ‘standing pressure.’

Common Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

The origins of plantar fasciitis differ from one person to another, but generally, the inflammation and pain in the fascia can be traced to several triggers. Here are some of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis.

1. New Activity or Exercise

Trainers usually recommend new activities such as exercise regimes for weight management and overall well-being. But, when you start exercising, the plantar fascia muscle might experience strain. The risks of developing the condition are higher for people aged 40 and 60 years, runners, and ballet dancers among others.

2. Structure of the Foot

Flat feet are linked to overpronation, which is when feet lean inward during movement. In cases where added foot support (orthotics) is not provided for people with flat feet, plantar fasciitis is more likely to develop.

3. Type of Surface

When we walk on the street or a grassy field, our feet encounter different types of surfaces. Plantar fasciitis can develop when we stand on hard surfaces for extended periods because this is strenuous on the heel and arch areas.

4. Type of Shoes

What’s on your feet usually dictates the activities you can do and, usually, also determines the problems you’ll face. Shoes that can cause plantar fasciitis include flat, hard-soled shoes, and poor-fitting pairs that are too close-fitting.

5. Body Weight

Our feet help us move around, and when we’re carrying some extra pounds, we inevitably put immense pressure on our heel pad. BMIs of 30 or higher are associated with higher risks of developing plantar fasciitis.

Man walking away in supportive shoes to treat plantar fasciitis

At-Home Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options

Despite the harsh consequences of plantar fasciitis, physicians studying the condition discovered multiple remedies and solutions. Some efficient ways of addressing the condition at home range from shoe care to stretching and new workout regimes.

Get Quality Shoe Care/Health

Depending on our professions, we usually have limited choices about the fashion we should wear. But once you develop plantar fasciitis from wearing flat or hard-soled shoes, you need to make changes. Good quality shoes, custom orthotics, and shoe inserts work wonders in addressing foot conditions, shifting pressure from painful points, and cushioning your steps.

Change Workout Schedule/Routine

Workouts are incredible for weight management, but when they lead to foot pain, it’s prudent to adjust the routine. While aerobics relying heavily on foot movement such as jumping or running are great for ‘burning fat,’ they place intense pressure on the feet. Switching to other activities like swimming, yoga, cycling, and elliptical cardio will avoid foot pain and help you recover.

Stretch and Strengthen the Muscles

Stretching your feet and calves ensures that you avoid any unnecessary strain. This is a good way to protect yourself before any workout routine. But if you already have plantar fasciitis and need to protect yourself against future pain recurrence, it’s also best to incorporate high-load strength training.

Strengthening your muscles is a great way to provide relief to your muscles and reduce long-term symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Of course, remember to wear comfortable exercise shoes to avoid causing harm.

Professional Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

In some cases, patients require more advanced plantar fasciitis treatment options. These treatment options address immediate pain and prepare you to better care for your feet after healing.

Custom Orthotics

Custom orthotics are a treatment plan that addresses a patient’s unique feet and discomfort. The major categories of custom orthotics prescribed by experts from the Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists are functional and accommodative orthotics.

Functional orthotics address abnormal motions, protecting areas prone to injury. These are made from semi-rigid materials like graphite and plastic. Accommodative orthotics are the softer version and are best for providing additional cushioning and support. They are made for treating pain at the bottom of the feet.

Note: While most shoes come with prefabricated shoe inserts and insoles, it’s vital to note that they’re usually mass-produced. They are not made to the exact specifications of your foot, which makes quality custom orthotics very important.

Cortisone Injections

Injections can sound scary, but when your feet are on fire, they might be a saving grace. When patients visit our Ladera podiatrist office, our practitioners might recommend a cortisone injection to reduce inflammation. After addressing inflammation, patients report pain relief.

Surgery in Rare and Extreme Cases

In very rare cases, surgery may be needed to correct extensive foot damage. A proper assessment of your case and consultation with experts can determine whether you require constructive surgery for your foot injuries.

Make an Appointment With Us Today

The team at Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists has accumulated an immense wealth of knowledge that helps them diagnose and treat all types of foot and ankle conditions. We understand that the best plan of action depends on your unique case, and with every appointment, we can recommend the most viable direction.

Remember, when it comes to your health, never think twice. Reach out to our office as soon as you experience pain, and we’ll be ready to help you get well and find peace of mind.