Using Orthotics to Manage Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Nearly 10% of the United States population experiences heel pain. Approximately 1 million people a year seek medical treatment for plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia acts as a shield under the foot that prevents the damage of our muscles, tendons, and nerves.
Plantar fasciitis is an irritation to the plantar fascia. It commonly presents itself as pain in front of the heel and limits normal daily activities. The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis are pain with the first steps of the day and when standing after sitting for long periods. Plantar fasciitis is more common in one foot than in both feet. Wearing poorly supported shoes, increasing your activity level too quickly, rapid changes in body weight and jobs that require many hours of standing and walking are all shown to cause plantar fasciitis. Anyone with the symptoms listed above should seek proper diagnosis by a licensed medical professional to determine if other conditions such as arthritis or a fracture could be causing the pain.
If plantar fasciitis is the culprit, initial conservative treatment includes rest, daily icing, stretching, and strengthening exercises. Orthotics are commonly used in the treatment of Plantar fasciitis. The cushioning and support of orthotics help reduce pain and align the body. Both over-the-counter and custom orthotics have been shown to improve plantar fasciitis by providing cushioning and support. However, there is no difference measured between the two. Most people diagnosed with plantar fasciitis have symptoms improved with daily conservative care.
Night Splints are useful in advanced cases of plantar fasciitis. These devices keep the ankle “flexed up” while sleeping. This position prevents the plantar fascia and calves from tightening up while sleeping. Night Splints have been shown to improve symptoms when utilized with the other conservative care methods listed above.
In cases that do not respond to conservative treatments listed above, advanced medical care may include corticosteroid injections, ultrasonic therapy, or surgery to alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.