Prevention and Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
Inserts that provide arch support and a slight heel lift help lessen the stress on the plantar fascia to reduce the possibility of inflammation. If your feet overpronate, inserts can help support them and prevent them from turning in excessively. They also help support the arch area and promote proper biomechanics.
To ensure that your feet are optimally protected, IPFH suggests you wear only properly selected and fitted, as part of an integrated approach, padded socks with shoes with non-slip outsoles and any inserts or orthotics prescribed or recommended by a doctor or foot health professional. Peer-reviewed, published studies have shown that wearing clinically-tested padded socks can help protect against injuries to the skin/soft tissue of the foot.
If you feel a burning sensation in the heel area that signifies the possible onset of plantar fasciitis, see a foot health professional before the pain becomes more severe or chronic. Plantar fasciitis generally is treated conservatively. The first step is to cut back on the amount of time you spend on your feet and the intensity and duration of your physical activity. Inserts that elevate the heels can also help and may be incorporated with other non-invasive techniques such as icing and stretching (see bottom of page below for some recommended stretching exercises from the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society). Special exercises and anti-inflammatory drugs, if tolerated, may also be prescribed. Arch support is critical in preventing plantar fasciitis. Many foot specialists recommend that patients not go barefoot.
Recovery from plantar fasciitis may take up to six to nine months; in some cases, anti-inflammatory injections may calm symptoms. A relatively recent and potentially successful treatment method for particularly difficult cases is extracorporeal shock wave therapy. If all else fails, your doctor may suggest surgery.