Home Treatment Options for Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis
Heel pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition that is sometimes called “heel spur syndrome” when a heel spur is present. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the bottom of the heel to the toes. In this condition, the fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel or arch pain. The most common cause of plantar fasciitis relates to faulty structure of the foot. For example, people with overly flat feet or high-arched feet, are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. People with plantar fasciitis often describe the pain as worse when they get up in the morning or after they have been sitting for a long time and first stand up. After a few minutes of walking the pain usually decreases, because walking stretches the plantar fascia. For some people the pain subsides but returns after spending long periods of time on their feet.
Heel pain is the most common problem we treat in our Davison and Lapeer offices. Most heel pain is caused by plantar fasciitis, and the treatment plan below is designed to treat plantar fasciitis. But there are many causes of heel pain besides plantar fasciitis and some of these include; a stress fracture, tendonitis, nerve irritation, or even a cyst. This makes it even more important that you seek professional treatment if this plan does not eliminate your heel pain within a few weeks. We have been able to resolve 90% of patient’s plantar fasciitis symptoms with conservative modalities. When treatment options below are not successful many times a custom orthotic, cortisone injection, prescription medication, or physical therapy are required. If pain continues surgery may be needed. We perform the Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy procedure. This is a minimally invasive procedure performed on an out-patient basis with very little pain or disability. The patient is walking through-out the recovery and is back in a casual shoe within five days.
10-Step Home Treatment Plan for Heel and Arch Pain
Try our 10-Step Home Treatment Plan for Heel and Arch Pain for 3 weeks. If you don’t have relief by then, see a podiatrist.
- Wear stable shoes to prevent pronation that causes increased tension on the plantar fascia. Download our list of recommended shoes here. For three weeks, wear these shoes every moment you are on your feet.
- It is critical to use very stable arch supports in your shoes to take tension off of your plantar fascia and transfer pressure off of your heel. We have found the best arch support for heel pain is the PowerStep Medical Grade Orthotic. These arch supports work better for relieving heel pain because they are somewhat higher in the arch and more firm than other arch supports. This helps them take more tension off the plantar fascia and take more pressure of f a sore heel. Avoid getting arch supports from the stores you hear advertising “custom fit orthotics” on the radio and TV. These stores sell inferior arch supports at severely inflated prices. Also, arch supports have been shown to be much more effective at treating plantar fasciitis than heel pads and heel cushions. So, we recommend avoiding heel cushions and using a good arch support instead when treating sore heels.
- If you don’t wear shoes in the house, use a flip-flop with a built-in arch support. The best ones we have found for heel pain are the Orthaheel Arch Support Flip-Flops. The key to helping heel pain is to never go barefoot. Wear your shoes with arch supports or your arch support flip-flops any time you are on your feet for faster relief of painful heels.
- If you have pain in the morning, wear a night splint at night for the first two weeks of your treatment. We recommend the Ossur Exoform Night Splint.
- Studies have shown that stretching the Achilles tendon daily can help reduce heel pain. Many of our patients find that they can get a more effective stretch using a ProStretch. It makes it simple to apply an even and consistent stretch.
- Use a foot roller once per day for 5 – 10 minutes. Patients with plantar fasciitis can use the roller to stretch the plantar fascia and increase flexibility. It can be chilled and we recommend that you keep in the freezer when not in use. Thera-Band Foot Roller.
- Use stable shoes with room for an arch support or orthotic. Go to a good shoe store in your area. If a good store is not available, we often recommend these Orthofeet Shoes for Women and Orthofeet Shoes for Men. They are stable and one of our favorite brands for plantar fasciitis due to the stable heel, midfoot support and ease of using arch supports and orthotics. Both casual and athletic shoes are available.
- Ice your sore heel several times per day. Be careful not to freeze your skin. Ice 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off (no ice).
- Cut down on calories if you are carrying too much weight. Even 5 extra pounds had been shown to dramatically increase foot and heel problems.
- If you are not better in three weeks, see a podiatrist right away. If you are in the Davison or Lapeer area, make an appointment to see us. You can learn about our best practices approach to treating heel pain here.
Don’t live with heel pain or arch pain. Call today to make an appointment in our convenient Davison or Lapeer office.