06 May How Long Does it Take for Plantar Fasciitis to Heal?
Recovering From Plantar Fasciitis
If you follow sports news, you may know that Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was recently placed on the injured list because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. This was not the first time for Zimmerman. He had the same condition in 2015, but it was in his left foot.
Plantar fasciitis is a common injury among athletes of all kinds, but it can affect anyone. If you’ve been diagnosed with it, you may be wondering about the recovery timeline. How long does it take to get back on your feet? What can you do to speed your recovery and prevent it from happening again?
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Overuse is the main cause of plantar fasciitis. That’s why it can afflict athletes who frequently jump, twist and otherwise put unusual stress on their joints and feet.
But plantar fasciitis isn’t limited to athletes. Many people get it even if they’re not involved in sports.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
One of the chief symptoms of plantar fasciitis is pain that subsides for a while and then comes back.
Other symptoms include:
- Sharp pain when taking the first steps of the day.
- Heel and foot pain after exercising.
- Pain when you stand up after sitting.
Healing and Recovery
The main things you will need are time, rest and patience. It takes a minimum of two months to fully recover from plantar fasciitis. Some people might require two years of rehabilitation before they’re fully recovered.
Week 1: Rest and Recuperate
During the first week, you should rest your foot completely. Try to avoid putting any weight on it. Rest is the most critical part of healing. Many athletes and active people have a hard time with this step, but it is the most important one.
Weeks 2 and 3: Begin Physical Therapy
By the second or third week, you should begin physical therapy. This can include gentle stretching exercises and rehabilitative exercises related to your sport or other activities.
Weeks 5 and 6: Night Splints and Orthotics
Once your foot has started to heal, talk to your podiatrist about specialty footwear. If you’re still in pain, your podiatrist may prescribe a night splint to keep your foot from overstretching while you sleep.
If you’re able to walk, don’t walk barefoot. This can put excessive stress on the fascia. Try wearing soft shoes, but make sure they have solid arch supports. Your podiatrist can create custom orthotics or inserts to support your arches and help speed your healing.
Weeks 7 through 10
The rest of your recovery will consist of:
- Easing back into sports or other high-impact activities.
- Wearing custom orthotics and supportive shoes.
- Scheduling follow-up appointments with your podiatrist to check how well you’re healing.
What About Medication?
Your podiatrist can prescribe various medications to address the pain and swelling. Typically, these include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids or cortisone injections.
Can You Prevent Plantar Fasciitis?
Because this condition is painful and recovery from it is slow, prevention is a good idea. Follow these steps to keep your feet and ligaments healthy.
- If your job requires you to be on your feet, get custom orthotics to keep your arches supported.
- Avoid wearing high heels.
- Only wear shoes that are supportive and well-fitting.
- Use inserts or custom orthotics in your running or sports shoes.
- Don’t ignore heel or foot pain. Get a diagnosis from a podiatrist to determine the cause of your pain.
- Warm up thoroughly before exercising.
How a Podiatrist Can Help
Because many feet and heel conditions have similar symptoms, it’s important to visit a foot care professional if you have any pain in your feet. Only a qualified medical specialist can rule out other conditions like a pinched nerve, foot fracture or tendonitis.