The first step in treating plantar fasciitis is to immediately stop the activity that caused it. But the second is to treat the acute pain and reduce inflammation. Icing your foot for 20 minutes at a time, four times a day, will relieve pain and reduce inflammation of your plantar fascia so you can begin physical therapy.
- Relieve plantar fasciitis pain with ice
There are several suggested methods for icing down your foot when plantar fasciitis pain flares up:
- Gently move an ice cube over the bottom of your foot until it melts, then repeat with more ice cubes until 20 minutes have passed.
- Freeze a paper cup or juice carton full of water and gently roll your foot over it for 20 minutes. At VibrantNation.com, the leading online community for women over 50, one member suggests using a bottle of frozen water: “I used a frozen bottle of water to massage my foot, mixing cold with massage. It’s still there in the freezer waiting for the next time I need it.”
- A much faster method is to dunk your entire foot into a bucket of ice water. But don’t keep your foot in the ice water for more than five minutes or you may damage skin tissue.
Keep icing your foot for several days or until your doctor says it’s okay to stop. One Vibrant Nation member suggests icing several times a day: “Applying ice three or four times per day controls the inflammation that causes pain.”
In addition to icing your foot, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) during the first few days of treatment will help reduce inflammation and alleviate your foot pain. Ibuprofen and Aleve are two over-the-counter options. Either one will help decrease swelling in your plantar fascia. This won’t cure the underlying problem, but it will at least help your foot feel better so you can start rehabbing it.
One Vibrant Nation member says her doctor recommended Motrin for temporary relief; to find the best anti-inflammatory medication for you, you may wish to consult with your doctor as well. It’s worth exercising caution here: although many NSAIDs are available over the counter, : non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can have many potential side effects. You will want to weigh the potential risks and benefits when taking them.
If rest, ice, and ibuprofen don’t alleviate your foot pain, you might want to ask your doctor about extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), a treatment that sends sound waves through your plantar fascia to stimulate the damaged tissue and speed up healing. For the most severe ligament tears, surgery is the last resort, but only 10% of patients with plantar fasciitis need to go that far. Once the immediate pain has been treated and you are ready for long term treatment options, you may want to consider physical therapy or massage therapy.
For more plantar fasciitis treatment options, download a FREE copy of Vibrant Nation’s special report 5 Quick Fixes for Immediate Foot Pain Relief.