Plantar fasciitis treatment is designed to cushion the heel, stretch out the fascia and support the arch of the foot. The main treatment for plantar fasciitis involves cushioning the heel with a silicone heel pad.
Stretching exercises for the back of the heel are done on a regular basis, two to three times daily. Stretching out the foot at night using a specially designed night splint or brace maintains the foot in a straight up position. This prevents it from dropping down during the night.
The natural position of the foot during sleep rests the fascia, which then is subjected to vigorous stress again when getting up and walking in the morning. Keeping the fascia stretched at all times (but particularly at night) seems to help. If these methods of treatment fail, a cortisone injection into the back of the heel often will reduce the inflammation.
More than one cortisone injection is not a good idea because it weakens the heel pad and can even aggravate the condition. If none of these treatments are sufficient, the next alternatives are shock wave therapy or surgery.
Shock wave therapy is a unique treatment where a high frequency, ultrasound impulse is transmitted to the back of the heel to break up the scarring. (Similar treatments are used to treat kidney stones.)
Alternatively, surgery may be performed through a small incision on the back of the heel to release the plantar fascia and, in some cases, release the nerve that is pinched at the same time. The treatments are highly effective in relieving the chronic pain if cushioning, stretching and immobilization fail.