Plantar Fasciitis: Your Options When Conservative Treatments Don’t Work

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If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, the searing pain will cause you to try just about anything to make it go away. After conservative treatments, like stretching, splinting, change of shoe gear, anti-inflammatories, and icing the inflamed area doesn’t work, it’s time to try something a little more aggressive.

Your podiatrist will recommend a cortisone injection, where they will inject steroids directly into the most painful part of your plantar fascia; the steroids should reduce the inflammation and keep you pain-free for a while.

Physical therapy to increase flexibility and reduce pain at the insertion of the plantar fascia may also be recommended.

Another possibility is Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology treatment or EPAT that uses focused bursts of sound to stun the pained nerves and stimulate blood flow to the plantar fascia.  An outpatient procedure that takes about 15 minutes and is noninvasive.  Many people report immediate relief but it can sometimes take a couple of weeks for the full benefits to be felt.

And finally, there’s surgery.  Fortunately, plantar fasciitis surgery is less invasive than many other foot surgeries and also relatively rare—only about 5 percent of patients need it.  The surgeon will cut a little bit of the plantar fascia ligament to relieve tension and reduce swelling, perhaps as a direct incision to the area or perhaps endoscopically by inserting surgical tools through a very small opening.  The surgery can be done in as little as 20 minutes and often requires only sedation, not general anesthesia.  While it’s not a major operation plantar fasciitis surgery does come with some risks—most commonly the possibility of scar tissue and nerve damage—and is only recommended after every other option has been tried.  And of course, as with any surgery, the more conscientious you are about your post-operative care the happier you and your feet will be in the (literal) long run.

If you’re suffering from heel pain, it’s best you see your podiatrist for a full evaluation to determine what next steps would be your best option. To make an appointment with one of our podiatrists, call 336-375-6990 or visit triadfoot.com to request an appointment.

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