Plantar Fasciitis

If plantar fasciitis is causing you pain and affecting your daily life, Rush foot specialists offer a full range of treatments to help you recover.

If plantar fasciitis is causing you pain and affecting your daily life, Rush foot specialists offer a full range of treatments to help you recover.

If plantar fasciitis is causing you pain and affecting your daily life, Rush foot specialists offer a full range of treatments to help you recover.

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes. It is the most common cause of heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis is common among athletes, including long-distance runners and ballet dancers, and among people who stand on hard surfaces all day at work, such as nurses.

Signs You Should Get Help for Plantar Fasciitis

Talk to your doctor or a foot and ankle specialist if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Your heels hurt first thing in the morning.
  • You feel sharp, "stepping on glass" pain on the bottom of your foot and on the inside of your heel.
  • The pain subsides after a few minutes, only to resurface when you rest and get up again.
  • You experience frequent pain, tenderness, stiffness or tightness in the bottom of your foot.

If a physical exam or X-ray reveals that you have plantar fasciitis, you may be referred to a foot and ankle specialist at Rush. With treatment, most patients feel better within months, although treatment can last up to a few years.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment at Rush

Nonsurgical Treatments

In most cases, nonsurgical treatments and rest will improve the pain, including the following:

  • Physical therapy with stretching instruction
  • Cortisone injections, which can help reduce inflammation and pain
  • Platelet-rich plasma injections, which can decrease pain and recovery time, and improve function
  • Gel shoe inserts, orthotic arch supports or supportive, low-heeled shoes (as opposed to flip-flops and high heels)
  • Immobilizing boot during the day or a night splint at night
  • Ice, applied three or four times a day to reduce inflammation
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Shock-wave therapy to stimulate healing using a non-invasive probe to deliver pressure waves to the inflamed tissue and trigger the body's natural healing process.

It's also important for you to get lots of rest, and have plenty of patience. It may take anywhere from three to 12 months for plantar fasciitis to heal completely, though treatment often improves symptoms dramatically within about six weeks.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is rarely needed for plantar fasciitis. But your doctor may recommend surgery if you've tried all of the conservative therapies and are still experiencing symptoms.

Plantar fascia release surgery involves cutting part of the plantar fascia ligament. Rush foot and ankle surgeons perform this procedure minimally invasively, through an endoscope. This approach reduces your hospital stay time.

Rush Excellence in Plantar Fasciitis Care

  • Nationally recognized for excellence: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical Center No. 5 in the nation and best in Illinois for orthopedics. Many of our doctors have been featured in Chicago magazine's Top Doctors, and are nationally and internationally recognized leaders in their fields.
  • Improving pain and healing with platelet-rich plasma: As part of conservative treatment for plantar fasciitis, Rush offers biologic therapies like platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which can relieve pain, improve function help you heal faster and possibly even avoid surgery.
  • On-site physical therapy: If your doctor recommends physical therapy for your plantar fasciitis, you don't have to travel far to get it. We offer on-site physical therapy at all of our foot and ankle care locations, with experienced therapists who will develop a custom treatment plan to help you recover as quickly and completely as possible.
  • State-of-the-art care: Rush foot and ankle specialists are also innovators, leading efforts to continually improve patient care. That includes developing minimally invasive approaches that mean less time in the hospital. Members of our team have also developed groundbreaking pain management strategies that reduce post-surgery pain and opioid medication use.