Whether your plantar fasciitis pain is nuisance level or sheer agony, if you have it, you just want to know two things: How long does plantar fasciitis last and how can you heal it quickly? There are plenty of things you can do to relieve the pain and even some steps you can take to make sure it doesn't come back. Never fear, there is an end in sight.
In this post, we'll cover everything you need to know about plantar fasciitis, including:
Pain is often notably worse in the morning, decreasing as the day continues and your foot and arch limber up. However, you will also feel pain:
If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, you have any of these risk factors and are suffering from
According to Harvard Medical School, most plantar fasciitis improves with home-based treatments. While you'll want to avoid activities that put excessive strain on the heel, like jumping or running, make sure you don't stop exercising entirely. Inactivity can result in your plantar fascia stiffening, making it painful when you start to move around.
The inflammation and pain caused by plantar fasciitis can be excruciating. To provide short-term relief from the pain, podiatrists and orthopedists recommend the following remedies:
Ice your foot several times a day for 15-20 minutes each time; here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as:
This splint stretches your calf muscles and maintains your foot (and plantar fascia) in an extended position with your toes pointed up while you sleep.
No one wants to hear it, but for full recovery, you'll probably have to avoid the activities that are aggravating your pain. Lay off running or basketball for now. Try swimming, cycling or other non-impact exercises while you recover.
Think of the plantar fascia as a big rubber band that stretches from the heel to the toe, supporting the arch of your foot. Both it – and the other rubber bands it connects to – need to be flexible to avoid snapping.
And like the plantar fascia, the tendons and muscles that connect to it also need to be flexible. Stretching will help loosen the fascia, tendons, and muscles that all contribute to plantar fasciitis. We recommend stretching 2 to 4 times per day with these exercises:
Fascia stretch – From a seated position, stretch the unaffected leg straight out in front of you. Bend the other leg and put your foot against the inside of your extended knee. Pull your toes back towards your shin bone for 10 to 15 seconds. You should feel a stretch in your arch. Repeat on the other side. If you are flexible enough, stretch both legs straight out in front of you with your heels on the floor. With your toes pointing straight up, grab the toes and pull them back towards the shin bones.
Achilles tendon stretch – Stand on a step. Relax your calf muscles, and slowly let your heels down over the edge of the step for 10 to 15 seconds. You should feel the stretch along the Achilles tendon.
Calf muscle stretch – Stand with one foot about 12 inches in front of the other. Point the toes of the back foot towards the heel of the front and lean towards a wall. Keep your back leg straight and bend your front one, keeping both heels firmly planted on the floor. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
As Joy Rowland, DPM, says: “Stretching is a big part of treatment for plantar fasciitis. We have to allow that ligament to stretch rather than pull.”
Physical therapy can be very effective for increasing range of motion and muscle strength. The Achilles tendon connects the fascia to the calf muscles. If any of these are tight, they will pull on the plantar fascia. In fact, almost 80% of people who suffer from plantar fasciitis have tight Achilles tendons or “heel cords.”
Because biomechanical irregularities like flat feet, high arches, and overpronation can lead to plantar fasciitis, correcting these foot problems and supporting the arch are key to avoiding pain.
Strong arch support is critical to both treatment and prevention of plantar fasciitis. Scientific studies have found that insoles – especially with firm support – reduce pain levels related to plantar fasciitis symptoms.
Insoles can both help treat and prevent the development of plantar fasciitis:
Treat – Insoles with strong arch support will reduce the weight bearing load of the in the plantar fascia, allowing it to heal.
Prevent – Insoles that properly support the arch lengthwise prevent overpronation, a cause of plantar fasciitis.
Not all insoles are made the same. While your foot may be screaming for comfort, what it really needs is structural support. Soft, cushioned insoles will provide temporary relief. But they won't correct the overpronation that leads to plantar fasciitis.
If you are experiencing plantar fasciitis symptoms and they don't go away after several weeks of home remedies, it is time to get an accurate diagnosis from a podiatrist or orthopedist, and in some cases, a physical therapist.
When visiting your doctor, you can expect they will conduct a thorough physical exam, maybe take an X-Ray (looking for bone spurs), and likely give you treatment options similar to what we have outlined above. They might prescribe an orthotic or ask to you purchase insoles.
Sometimes, however, plantar fasciitis will not go away with home remedies. More aggressive measures such as steroid injections, extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), and even surgery are considered if you have been suffering from plantar fasciitis for more than 6-12 months and none of the normal interventions have improved symptoms.
Plantar fasciitis can be painful – and annoying – but with the proper treatment and the implementation of preventative measures, you won't have to experience it again.
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