Many doctors report a 90 percent cure rate for conservative, or non-surgical, treatment of plantar fasciitis or heel pain within a 10-month time frame. However, they usually fail to describe the actual time frame or the criteria for achieving what they often describe as “cure” or “successful resolution” of the condition.
The conservative treatments recommended for plantar fasciitis and heel pain generally include rest, stretching, physical therapy, shoe inserts, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroid injections. Some of these treatments require visiting a doctor while most are home-based and done by the patient.
A recent high-quality study verifies the fact that the same usual home treatments for bottom of the foot heel pain are ineffective in reducing pain and improving function in a reasonable period of time. Babatunde and coworkers studied four common conservative interventions for treating plantar heel pain and showed some benefit of home exercises but only in the long-term or after 12 weeks of treatment.
Whether home-based or implemented by a clinician, treatment of plantar heel pain does not have a 90 percent success rate within a 12-week time frame. A study conducted by Hansen and coworkers, who followed 174 patients, 10 years after they had been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis found that despite receiving an average of 3.8 different treatments, 45 percent of the patients were still symptomatic after 10 years.
The lesson learned from the study by Hansen and colleagues is the fact that when patients wait more than eight months to seek professional treatment for plantar heel pain, they jeopardize the prognosis for successful conservative treatment. The patients who eventually did become asymptomatic with conservative treatment had their symptoms for 256 days before seeking treatment while those who remained symptomatic for 10 years had their symptoms for 365 days before obtaining professional care.
Dr. John Hoy has extensive experience with this condition, and is able to implement advanced treatments for plantar fasciitis or heel pain including proper biomechanical control, custom orthotics and extracorporeal shockwave therapy. He will explain how to get rid of the pain and keep it away. It is a tough diagnosis but it can be controlled.