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How do you treat plantar fasciitis?

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Quick Answer

Plantar fasciitis often responds to treatments that include exercises to stretch the heel and foot, over-the-counter medication, rest and a splint worn at night when sleeping. During the day, wearing shoes that provide proper support helps to alleviate the pain. MedlinePlus recommends applying ice for 15 minutes twice daily in the first few days after the initial pain.

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How do you treat plantar fasciitis?
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Full Answer

Patients may take medications like Ibuprofen, to manage the inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis, states Mayo Clinic. In addition, physiotherapists teach exercises that strengthen the leg muscles, giving more support to the plantar region. These exercises may also strengthen the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. In some cases, night splints are available to strengthen the muscles in the area while the patient sleeps. Orthotics designed to sit in the shoe and support the muscles can encourage the patient to distribute weight more evenly, according to Mayo Clinic.

According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors sometimes recommend physical therapy to help the patient learn exercises to relieve pain along with special orthotics that cushion the heel. If other measures prove ineffective, doctors sometimes prescribe a steroid shot in the heel to reduce the painful condition. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is an option for chronic conditions that do not respond to traditional methods of relief for plantar fasciitis. In rare instances, doctors use surgeries to detach the ligament from the heel, but the side effects of this procedure include weakening of the arch.

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, according to WebMD. Risk factors for the condition include excess weight, prolonged standing, flat feet or high arches. It is more common among middle-aged individuals but affects people of all ages. The pain is generally more severe when getting out of bed. Night time heel pain is usually a sign of another problem, such as arthritis.

Patients can adjust their lifestyle to promote the healing process. This includes having a healthy weight to minimize stress on the muscles and wearing supportive shoes rather than heels, according to the University Health Services of Wisconsin-Madison. People who run often should replace their shoes when they begin to wear down, to ensure they are getting enough support. Home stretches and applying ice to the area for a few minutes can also provide relief.

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