9 Tips for Managing Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a long band of tissue that runs from your heel to your toes on the sole of your foot. A healthy plantar fascia acts like a kind of shock absorber, preventing your bones and other tissues from being jarred when you walk or run.

Over time — or with chronic stress, such as working on your feet a lot — you may develop tiny tears in your plantar fascia that become irritated and inflamed. With proper care, plantar fasciitis can resolve on its own, but if the pain persists, you should see the expert podiatrists at Midtown Foot Care in New York City.

Dr. Harvey Katz and his expert team of podiatrists recommend these nine tips to manage plantar fasciitis pain:

1. Buy yourself a new pair of shoes

No, this isn’t to keep up with the latest fashion trends or to reward yourself for a job well done. Plantar fasciitis often arises from undue pressure and friction created by tight footwear or shoes that distribute your weight unevenly.

Look for shoes with a roomy toe, low heel, and good arch support. Throw out old sneakers and running shoes, which may not be as effective at shock absorption anymore. And avoid going barefoot, even in the house.

2. Take the weight off

One of the main risk factors for developing this painful condition is being overweight or obese. Losing unneeded pounds helps ease the strain on the bottom of your foot, allowing the torn tissue to heal.

If you have a tendency to regain weight after a diet, or if you need help finding a healthy way of eating that stabilizes your weight, ask your Empire podiatrist about a referral for a medically supervised weight loss program.

3. Take a break

Taking the weight off your feet by sitting or reclining throughout the day helps, too. Even if you’re at a healthy weight, your feet bear it all when you’re standing. Make sure you take regular breaks while you’re at work, particularly if your job requires you to stand or walk for long periods of time.

4. Ice it

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation, and inflammation can be reduced and alleviated with ice therapy. If your feet hurt, wrap an ice pack in a soft cloth and apply it to your sole or heel for about 15 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day. Icing also helps directly after any activity or sport that causes a flare of pain.

5. Make massage a habit

Getting a foot massage or gently massaging the tissues with your own hand helps soothe the aches of plantar fasciitis. You can even create a DIY ice massage: Freeze a paper cup filled with water and roll the sole of your foot over the iced cup for about 15 minutes to massage and soothe your pain.

6. Stretch yourself

Your Midtown Foot Care podiatrist teaches you gentle stretching exercises that release tension and create more flexibility in your plantar fascia. Stretching exercises that work your calf muscles and Achilles tendon also help. More than 90% of women and men who do physical therapy stretching exercises notice that their symptoms improve within a few months.

7. Get support

Another risk factor for plantar fasciitis is flat or fallen arches. If your arches aren’t supported by your shoes, or if you have other foot-alignment issues, your Midtown Foot Care podiatrist can custom-design orthotics that you wear in your existing shoes.

Night splints also stretch your calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and the arch of your foot while you sleep. Night splints are particularly helpful if you usually awaken with foot pain.

Depending on how severe your pain is, your podiatrist may also recommend wearing a supportive cast. Corrective casts give your soles a break and realign your feet.

8. Address inflammation

If lifestyle adjustments don’t fully address your pain, your foot care specialist can administer steroid injections directly into your plantar fascia. Steroids relieve pain for about a month and control inflammation for several months or more.

You can also control mild pain and inflammation with over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Let your Midtown Foot Care podiatrist know if you’re taking any prescription or OTC medications when you arrive for your plantar fasciitis consultation.

9. Go for surgery

At Midtown Foot Care, our podiatrists always start with the least invasive therapies possible to restore health, comfort, and mobility to your foot. However, if your plantar fasciitis doesn’t resolve or becomes chronic, your specialist may advise surgically removing the plantar fascia from your heel in an in-office procedure.

Start addressing the source of your foot pain by helping your plantar fascia heal. Contact us for a plantar fasciitis consultation today by phoning the Midtown Foot Care office or using the online form.