WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a long band of fibers that go from your toes to your heel. It helps support your arch and absorbs shock. Plantar fasciitis is caused by repeated tears in the plantar fascia. Over time, these small tears cause inflammation of the fascia.
- NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling and pain. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask your primary healthcare provider which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly.
- Steroids: This medicine helps decrease inflammation. It may be given as a shot. It may also be put on the skin and an electrical current helps it absorb into the plantar fascia.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Splint: You may need to wear a splint at night to keep your foot stretched while you sleep. This will help prevent sharp pain first thing in the morning. Sharp pain is caused by stress on plantar fascia that shortens and tightens overnight.
- Orthotics: These are rubber, silicone, or felt pads. They support your heel, arch, or the entire bottom of your foot. They help decrease the stress on your feet.
- Rest: Rest as much as possible to decrease inflammation and prevent more damage.
- Activity: Try low-impact exercises, such as swimming or bicycling. Slowly increase your activity as directed.
- Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Fill a water bottle with water and freeze it. Roll the water bottle under your foot for 10 minutes in the morning and after work.
- Massage: Rest your foot on a golf ball on the floor. Roll the golf ball along the length of your foot to massage the muscles. Do this for as long as directed.
- Gentle exercise: Stand on a rug or carpet. Flex your toes so that they grab the rug or carpet. Do this as often as directed.
You may need to see a physical therapist to teach you special exercises. These exercises help improve movement and decrease pain. Physical therapy can also help improve strength and decrease your risk for loss of function.
Prevent plantar fasciitis:
- Maintain a healthy weight: This will help decrease the stress on your feet. Ask your primary healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
- Wear shoes that fit well and support your arch: Replace your shoes before the padding or shock absorption wears out. Avoid walking or standing in bare feet or sandals for long periods of time.
- Stretch your foot: Pull your toes toward your head. Do this before you get out of bed and when you get up from sitting for a long period of time. Warm up and stretch before and after you exercise.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or podiatrist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or podiatrist if:
- Your pain and swelling increase.
- You develop knee, hip, or back pain.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have severe foot pain.
- Your foot becomes red, warm, and swollen.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.