Orthopedics Leg, Foot & Ankle Treatment & Surgery Print Treatments for Painful Plantar Fasciitis By Jonathan Cluett, MD Updated August 15, 2019 Product Disclosure Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician More in Orthopedics Leg, Foot & Ankle Treatment & Surgery Causes of Pain Sprains & Strains Fractures & Broken Bones Physical Therapy Orthopedic Surgery Osteoporosis Pediatric Orthopedics Sports Injuries Shoulder & Elbow Hip & Knee Hand & Wrist Assistive Devices & Orthotics Medication & Injections View All Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of foot pain, and finding relief from painful symptoms can be frustrating for many patients. It is not uncommon for symptoms of heel and arch pain to persist for months after starting treatment for this condition. The good news is that more than 90% of patients find relief of plantar fasciitis symptoms with nonsurgical treatments. The bad news is that treatments may take months or longer to be effective, and generally, doctors don't consider treatments to be ineffective unless the symptoms persist for at least a year after starting—that's a long time to have to manage the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. If you have been recently diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, look through the treatment options. Start simple, and don't try every treatment all at once. If you try something for a few weeks or months, and you don't notice a benefit, move on and try something else. And don't forget, almost everyone who has this condition eventually finds a treatment that provides effective relief! 1 Rest Jan-Otto / Getty Images Avoiding the activity that caused the symptoms is the first step in treatment. For example, take a few days off jogging or prolonged standing/walking. Just resting usually helps to eliminate the most severe pain, and will allow the inflammation to begin to cool down. 2 Ice Application Icing will help to diminish some of the symptoms and control the heel pain. Icing is especially helpful after a sudden flare-up of symptoms. There are some creative ways to ice plantar fasciitis. 3 Stretches and Exercises Exercises and stretches are designed to relax the tissues that surround the heel bone. Some simple exercises, performed in the morning and evening, often help patients feel better quickly. Many patients will work with a physical therapist, or you can try some simple activities on your own. If you need some help, meet with a therapist for a few sessions to learn a program you can continue on your own. 4 Anti-Inflammatory Medications Anti-inflammatory medications help to both control pain and decrease inflammation. Over-the-counter medications are usually sufficient, but prescription options are also available. Anti-inflammatory medications can easily be used along with other treatment options. 5 Massage Massaging the arch of the foot is often helpful to relieve symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Self-massage is often beneficial, and a professional massage therapist may also help significantly. 6 Shoe Inserts Shoe inserts are often a key to successful treatment of plantar fasciitis. The shoe inserts often permit patients to continue their routine activities without pain. Shoe inserts that can be helpful include gel inserts, arch supports, and custom orthotics. 7 Night Splints Night splints are worn to keep the heel stretched out when you sleep. By doing so, the arch of the foot does not become contracted at night and is hopefully not as painful in the morning. 8 Cortisone Injection If the pain does not resolve with the above, an injection of cortisone can decrease the inflammation of plantar fasciitis. However, many physicians do not like to inject cortisone because there are potentially serious problems with cortisone injections in the heel area. The two problems that cause concern are fat pad atrophy and plantar fascial rupture. Both of these problems occur in a very small percentage of patients, but they can cause a worsening of heel pain symptoms. 9 PRP Injections PRP injections are a treatment that uses a concentrated blood injection to stimulate the body to heal the plantar fasciitis. There is limited data on the effectiveness of this treatment, but more patients are seeking out this option. 10 Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy A newer treatment for plantar fasciitis is called extracorporeal shock wave therapy, or ESWT. This treatment uses energy pulses to cause microtrauma to the tissue of the plantar fascia. This microtrauma is thought to induce a tissue repair process by the body. ESWT is recommended in patients who have failed the previously mentioned treatments, and are considering surgical options. 11 Surgery Surgery is seldom needed for patients with plantar fasciitis, but if patients have tried all the simple steps, and still have symptoms, it may become necessary. The surgery is called a plantar fascia release. Disclosure: E-Commerce Content is independent of editorial content and we may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Dealing with joint pain can cause major disruptions to your day. Sign up and learn how to better take care of your body. Click below and just hit send! Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Neufeld SK and Cerrato R. Plantar fasciitis: evaluation and treatment. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2008;16:338-46.