Non-surgical Treatment

A pair of insoles inside shoes may be tried About 90% of Plantar fasciitis cases will improve within six months with conservative treatment, and within a year regardless of treatment. Many treatments have been proposed for plantar fasciitis. Most have not been adequately investigated and there is little evidence to support recommendations for such treatments. First-line conservative approaches include rest, heat, ice, and calf-strengthening exercises; techniques to stretch the calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia; weight reduction in the overweight or obese; and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. NSAIDs are commonly used to treat plantar fasciitis, but fail to resolve the pain in 20% of people.

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is an effective treatment modality for plantar fasciitis pain unresponsive to conservative nonsurgical measures for at least three months. Evidence from meta-analyses suggests significant pain relief lasts up to one year after the procedure. However, debate about the therapy’s efficacy has persisted. ESWT can be performed with or without anesthesia though studies have suggested that the therapy is less effective when anesthesia is given. Complications from ESWT are rare and typically mild when present. Known complications of ESWT include the development of a mild hematoma or an ecchymosisredness around the site of the procedure, or migraine.

Corticosteroid injections are sometimes used for cases of plantar fasciitis refractory to more conservative measures. There is tentative evidence that injections may be an effective for pain relief in the first month but not after that. Foot orthoses have been demonstrated as an effective method to reduce plantar fasciitis pain for up to 12 weeks. The long-term effectiveness of custom orthotics for plantar fasciitis pain reduction requires additional study. Orthotic devices and certain taping techniques are proposed to reduce pronation of the foot and therefore reduce a load on the plantar fascia resulting in pain improvement.

Another treatment technique known as plantar iontophoresis involves applying anti-inflammatory substances such as dexamethasone or acetic acid topically to the foot and transmitting these substances through the skin with an electric current. Moderate evidence exists to support the use of night splints for 1–3 months to relieve plantar fasciitis pain that has persisted for six months. The night splints are designed to position and maintain the ankle in a neutral position thereby passively stretching the calf and plantar fascia overnight during sleep.