The plantar fascia is a long, thick tissue that runs from your heel to your toes. This tissue supports the muscles in your feet and the arches. Some people can develop a condition called plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is when you overstretch the plantar fascia, causing microscopic tears. These tears result in pain and inflammation.
If you’re having chronic heel pain, odds are you have plantar fasciitis. However, it will take an examination from your doctor to confirm the diagnosis.
So, once you’re diagnosed, what do you do? Will the plantar fasciitis go away on its own? Keep reading to find out.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Often, plantar fasciitis is a repetitive strain injury. Some causes of plantar fasciitis include:
- Too much running/walking
- Ill-fitting or inadequate high-heel shoes
- A bad landing after a jump
- Having flat feet
- Having high arches
- Having a tight Achilles tendon
Can It Go Away on Its Own?
Plantar Fasciitis can go away with time, but it can take more than a year for your heel pain to disappear. Without treatment, complications can occur.
Due to chronic heel pain, you risk not being able to do some activities you would typically enjoy. You also risk messing with the way you walk. As the pain continues, your body will try and compensate for it. This can lead to knee, foot, back, and hip problems.
You should see a doctor and start non-surgical treatments as soon as possible.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
If you take the proper steps to cure your plantar fasciitis, you could be pain-free in several months. Most people are successful with conservative treatment that includes icing the painful areas, stretching, and modifying or avoiding exercises or activities that cause them pain.
Lifestyle & Home Remedies
- Watch your weight – extra weight puts extra stress on your plantar fascia. Maintain a healthy weight to help reduce pain.
- Wear supportive shoes – Your shoes should have a low or moderate heel, thick soles, excellent arch support, and extra cushioning. Avoid wearing high-heels, flats, or walking barefoot.
- Toss your worn-out athletic shoes – You should aim to replace your athletic shoes before they stop supporting and cushioning your feet.
- Change your activity – Rather than running or doing something high-impact, go for something low-impact, like swimming or cycling. This will help reduce pain by alleviating stress from your plantar fascia.
- Use ice – Cover an ice pack with a cloth and place it over the painful area for 15 minutes three or four times a day. This will help reduce pain and inflammation. You can also roll a frozen water bottle under your foot for an ice massage.
- Stretch – You can do many simple, at-home exercises to stretch your plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles. Keeping them loose will aid in recovery.
Physical therapy or special devices may help relieve some symptoms for certain people.
- Physical therapy – A physical therapist will have exercises for you that will stretch your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and strengthen your lower leg muscles. Some therapists may also show you how to apply athletic tape to support the bottom of your foot.
- Night splints – These will hold the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened or stretched position overnight.
- Orthotics – Your doctor may suggest or prescribe off-the-shelf or custom-fitted arch supports. These will distribute the pressure on your feet more evenly, reducing stress from the plantar fascia.
- Walking boots, canes, or crutches – Some cases may be severe enough that your doctor will prescribe you to use a walking boot, cane, or crutches for a short period to keep your foot immobile or keep you from placing your total weight on your foot.
Surgical & Other Procedures
If, after several months, your plantar fasciitis symptoms do not subside, your doctor may recommend:
- Injections – Your doctor may inject a steroid medication into the painful area for temporary pain relief. However, multiple injections are not recommended as they can weaken your plantar fascia and cause it to rupture. Platelet-rich plasma from your blood can also be injected into the tender area to promote tissue healing.
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy – In this therapy, sound waves are directed at the heel pain to stimulate healing. This therapy is specifically for chronic plantar fasciitis that hasn’t responded to more-conservative treatments.
- Ultrasonic tissue repair – This is a minimally invasive procedure that uses ultrasound imaging to guide a needle-like probe into the damaged plantar fascia. The probe tip vibrates rapidly to break up the damaged tissue, which is suctioned out.
- Surgery – Very few people need surgery for their plantar fasciitis. However, it entails detaching the plantar fascia from the heel bone if necessary. This option is for patients who experience severe chronic pain and another treatment has failed.
The Foot & Ankle Center
If you think you have plantar fasciitis, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our doctors are here for you to ensure that you receive the high-quality care you deserve.
Visit our website today for more information about what we treat and how we can help you!