Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition in which a band of tissue in the sole of the foot becomes inflamed, leading to severe heel pain. The pain of plantar fasciitis can be so bad that it hurts to walk, much less exercise or do daily activities. But a few simple changes and precautions at home can help reduce the pain in your heels.
If heel pain is keeping you down, pamper your feet a bit until they’re feeling better again. To relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis:
Use an ice pack to reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Rest your feet by staying off of them as much as possible for a few days when your heels are aching.
Exercise your feet. Some good foot flexing and stretches can help stretch out the plantar fascia, and make it feel better. You can get more information about stretching online from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Adjust your shoes with inserts that raise the heel and support the arch of your foot.
Avoid walking on uneven walking surfaces.
If those suggestions don’t help ease heel pain, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:
Wearing a special splint at night. This helps by maintaining a slight stretch of the plantar fascia while sleeping.
Custom shoes or inserts (orthotics)
For more serious heel pain, more aggressive measures can be taken:
A shot of cortisone to reduce the inflammation. This can be effective, but tends to be painful.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy, in which external shock waves are directed to the inflamed areas of plantar fascia. Success with this procedure has been mixed, and it tends to work best with plantar fasciitis patients who are also runners.
Various surgical procedures. This is usually a last-resort treatment, and only if pain is still there after many months of other treatments.