Your patient has all the symptoms:
- Stiffness and pain in the foot in the morning or after resting that often gets worse as the day progresses.
- Pain when climbing stairs or standing on their toes.
- Pain when standing for long periods of time.
- Pain at the start of exercise that may subside but then returns after the exercise is completed.
Conservative treatment methods including rest, stretching and strengthening exercises, ice, night splints and over-the-counter medications are often effective.
But when your patient is a waiter, teacher, healthcare professional, factory worker or involved in any job that requires prolonged standing or walking, the pain may be in both their feet and soon enough, in their wallet. If symptoms are severe and their work cannot be modified, lost work time and wages put an additional burden on the patient during flare ups. Eventually the patient must return to the job that requires excessive standing. It becomes imperative to prevent future episodes from occurring.
Orthotics can play a key role in a plan to prevent plantar fasciitis. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight and wearing shoes with good support, orthotics can provide the relief from symptoms and address the underlying causes of plantar fasciitis.
But just as each patient’s symptoms are different, the solution should be as unique as the patient. Considerations should include:
- Patient’s weight and foot type
- Activity level
- Type of shoe
- Heel padding
- Other accommodation
Once you address the underlying pathology, custom orthotics may provide relief and be a substantive part of your prevention and maintenance strategy.