I think I have planter faciitis. Is there anything I can do beside go to the doctor for that horrible cortezone shot?

The first thing you should do is make sure that you actually have plantar fasciitis. Once you are properly diagnosed, there are several natural methods that you can use to reduce the inflammation and the pain. Initial treatment consists primarily of stretching the foot muscles and giving them sufficient rest. You should stretch your feet as soon as you wake up in the morning, before you step out of bed. This can be done by using a large towel, which you can roll up, and then use as a kind of sling to gently and slowly pull the frontal portion of your foot upwards. Spend a few minutes doing this to each foot, and only then start your day. Another simple and effective technique that you can use through the day is to roll a cylindrical object under your foot. Most people find that a cold can of soda gives the most relief – place the can under your foot, and roll it on the floor. You can also gently massage the arches of your foot a couple of times a day.

In addition to these measures, you need to make some changes in your lifestyle. To begin with, you should completely concentrate on what you are encasing your feet with. Shoes with hard soles, slippers of any kind, and flat shoes, all should be simply thrown out the window. The arches of your feet need proper support, and most such footwear either does not provide support or adds unnecessary strain, or both. You should also make sure that the soles of your shoes cushion your feet properly. In order to get relief from the pain, you can also apply an ice pack, which will lessen both the pain and the inflammation. There are some exercises that can also be performed, as well as taping the plantar fascia, but you will need a physiotherapist to show you exactly how these things need to be done.

Corticosteroid injections are typically used much later, when all these measures have failed. These injections give substantial relief, but the injection itself is quite painful, which is why a local anesthetic is often used first. Regular use of these injections will however prove counterproductive, leading to the rupture of the plantar fascia. If you have already taken one corticosteroid injection, you should probably refrain from repeating the treatment. Also, if your doctor’s first line of treatment was the injection, you should probably get a second opinion, or at least visit a physiotherapist instead.

answered by M W

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