foot painHeel pain is a common problem. So common, in fact, that it can be easy to get lulled into the idea that there isn’t really much you can do about it. Because it’s so common, you see.

But that’s far from the truth! Although many people suffer from heel pain, their symptoms can almost always be lessened or outright eliminated. The key is in finding a course of treatment that properly addresses the underlying causes of the pain.

To explore the possibilities in treating heel pain, let’s focus on one of the most common heel pain problems: plantar fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis: Heel Pain Enemy No. 1

Do your heels receive a sharp jolt of pain each morning as soon as you get out of bed and put your feet on the floor? That’s a good sign you may be like millions of others who have plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is an injury to the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the underside of the foot. It helps to form the arch and flexes as you move, helping you walk. 

If the plantar fascia becomes strained or overstretched, however, it can form small tears that lead to aggravation and pain. When you stretch the plantar fascia again after a long period of activity (like when you get out of bed), you are essentially re-tearing parts of the plantar fascia the body has been trying to heal, causing pain once more. A few minutes of moving around tends to “warm up” the plantar fascia, and the pain will recede.

But just knowing you have plantar fascia is not quite enough to determine the best course of treatment. Plantar fasciitis (and many other conditions that cause heel pain) can stem from multiple different causes. Is your plantar fascia strained from overuse? Is there an abnormality in your foot structure that places too much stress on it naturally? Are you using improper footwear?

Only when we can target the causes of your plantar fasciitis can we expect the treatment to be successful. The vast majority of our patients see great reduction in, or full eradication of, their heel pain within a few months of starting conservative treatments.

Exploring Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

Again, the best plan for plantar fasciitis treatment comes following a thorough professional evaluation, including a physical exam and discussing the particulars of your condition (e.g. when pain is the worst, what it feels like, your activity levels, etc.). 

Once we have all the information we need, we can recommend a course of treatment. Components of an overall plan might include one or more of the following:


Rest is often best when plantar fasciitis is being consistently aggravated. A temporary reduction in activity and an off-loading of weight on your heels can provide your plantar fascia the opportunity it needs to repair itself.

Rest does not have to mean being laid up and unable to do anything, though. We can help you determine ways to take a load off while still taking care of what needs to be done.

Changes to Footwear

Shoes that fit poorly, are unsupportive of your arches and heels, or just plain worn out can easily contribute to plantar fascia strain. A change to shoes that are more supportive for your feet and daily activity needs can make a significant difference.

Using Custom Orthotics

For patients with certain structural abnormalities, such as flat feet or high arches, a simple change in footwear might not be enough to address their specific needs. 

Custom orthotic inserts prescribed to provide exact amounts of cushioning and corrective support can help offload excess pressure from the plantar fascia. This can not only provide more opportunity for recovery, but help prevent future injury as well.

Using Supportive Equipment

Certain specialized equipment, such as night splints and certain braces, may be recommended to help hold the foot and plantar fascia in certain positions in order to reduce discomfort and pain. Keeping the plantar fascia in a stretched position overnight, for example, can greatly reduce that initial jolt of heel pain in the morning.

Advanced Regenerative Treatments

Regenerative treatments use the body’s own natural resources and processes in order to stimulate pain relief and accelerated recovery. They can be particularly effective on soft tissues, including the plantar fascia. 

There are additional modes of therapy we may recommend, including stretching and exercise regimens. We will always be happy to discuss all options with you during an appointment.

What if Conservative Methods Don’t Work?

Conservative treatments for plantar fasciitis are most often effective, but there is always a small chance that they will not yield the results you are seeking.

In cases such as these, surgical intervention might be considered. Procedures such as a plantar fascia release may provide permanent relief. We can discuss these with you as well, but nevertheless, It is still best to rule out more conservative treatment possibilities first.

The Experts in Heel Pain Treatment

Some people may have tried one or two heel pain remedies at home, only to become disappointed when they didn’t work very well. But that never means their plantar fasciitis is invincible – just that they haven’t found the right weapon to defeat it yet.

Schedule an appointment at Third Coast Foot and Ankle by calling (414) 764-4500 for our Oak Creek office or (262) 821-1588 for our New Berlin office. We’ll be happy to set you on a good path toward much-deserved relief.

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