Using Orthotics to Treat Plantar Fasciitis

Using Orthotics to Treat Plantar Fasciitis

If you have plantar fasciitis, you’re probably familiar with heel pain, especially first thing in the morning and after you exercise. If so, you’re not alone. Plantar fasciitis accounts for over 2 million trips to podiatrists each year.  

We know that plantar fasciitis can lead to excruciating heel pain that keeps you from the activities you love. That’s why our board-certified podiatrists at Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Specialists encourage you to seek treatment as soon as you spot the telltale signs of plantar fasciitis. 

From orthotics to steroid injections, we offer a variety of treatments to help you feel better. Below, we zero in on one particular treatment option: orthotics.

Do you have plantar fasciitis?

Before embarking on any treatment plan 一 orthotics included 一 we start with an accurate diagnosis. Multiple foot conditions can cause pain, and we want to make sure we’re treating the root cause of your pain. 

We diagnose plantar fasciitis with a physical exam, a review of your symptoms, and if needed, diagnostic imaging such as X-rays or MRIs. These tests can confirm or rule out other conditions that cause heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury, which means you’re more likely to experience plantar fasciitis if you put a lot of stress on your feet. This includes people who stand most of the day, people who are overweight, and runners. 

All of this stress can lead to inflammation, tissue degeneration, and microtears in your fascia. The pain is worse when you take your first few steps during the day or after you’ve been on your feet all day.

Using orthotics to treat plantar fasciitis 

Plantar fasciitis develops when your plantar fascia –– a thick band of fibrous tissue that extends from your heels to your toes –– suffers small tears. If you have irregular arches (either too high or flat), you’re also more likely to struggle with plantar fasciitis pain. 

Orthotics can ease plantar fasciitis in a few ways by:

Studies show that custom orthotics reduce pain and improve the function of your foot. 

Well-made, custom orthotics distribute your weight evenly throughout your feet, which means your heels don't have to take on all of the added stress. For this reason, custom orthotics can also prevent and treat other conditions, including heel spurs and bunions.

Will over-the-counter orthotics work?

OTC orthotics may seem like a quick fix, but they don’t deliver the same level of personalized support that custom orthotics do. 

While they add cushioning to your shoes, they aren’t able to address your specific foot biomechanics (e.g., high arches or flat arches) or take into account any slight irregularities in your foot or heel.

At Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Specialists, we create orthotics based on your exact foot measurements.

Beyond orthotics: Exploring other treatments 

Orthotics are a conservative approach, but it’s not your only option. Orthotics pair well with other conservative treatments including stretching, easing into new physical activity regimens, cold therapy, and pain medication. 

Stretches, for instance, are especially beneficial because they promote blood flow in your plantar fascia, strengthen your foot, and boost flexibility. Stretching and other exercises also help strengthen your calf muscles. Too-tight calf muscles can force your feet (and plantar fascia) to take more stress than necessary. 

If conservative treatments aren’t enough to provide relief, we may suggest night splints, steroid injections, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, and/or ultrasonic tissue repair.

Do you think you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis? You don’t need to wait until your symptoms get worse before you reach out for help. Early intervention can help you get back on your feet quicker. 

Request an appointment today at any of our locations in Tamarac, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Boca Raton, and Hollywood, Florida.

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