There are several home remedies and non-surgical options that can help to relieve the pain. These include:
- Stop any activity that makes the pain worse, such as activities that include running or jumping
- Ice the heel
- Use corrective aids such as shoes with extra support or orthotic inserts to provide more cushioning and/or arch support
- Wear night splints to stretch your calf and foot while sleeping
- Medication to relieve pain and inflammation, under your doctor’s supervision
Physical therapy is also helpful to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon, and strengthen leg muscles to make the ankle and heel more stable.
These interventions usually take up to 10 months for any improvement. If they do not offer sufficient relief, your doctor may recommend cortisone injections to ease the inflammation.
Surgery is also an option if other forms of treatment are unsuccessful, or if the pain is severe and persistent for more than 6 months. Your doctor may recommend one of the following:
- Plantar fascia release, which involves the partial detachment of the plantar fascia from the heel bone. This reduces tension and relieves pain, but it also weakens the arch of the foot and may limit its full function.
- Gastrocnemius recession, if you have difficulty flexing your feet even after stretching. This procedure lengthens the calf muscle, increases ankle motion and relieves stress on the plantar fascia.
As any form of surgery comes with risks, it is advisable to attempt non-surgical options first. Consult an orthopaedic surgeon to determine the treatment method most suitable for you.
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