If you have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, you are well acquainted with the aggravating foot pain and disability it can cause. Certainly, you wish for this distress to resolve quickly. However, your doctor may have explained that it takes awhile for plantar fasciitis to heal.
You may wonder why such a seemingly simple foot problem takes so long to get better. We are here to answer your questions about the recovery from plantar fasciitis. Here, we help to equip you with the knowledge necessary to give you a realistic picture of the healing process of plantar fasciitis.
I Need to Heal My Plantar Fascitis Fast – What Should I Do?
You may wonder how long it takes to get “back on your feet” after a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis. In an important document in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, medical experts inform us that it can take up to 6 to 18 months or longer to recover from plantar fasciitis.
However, conservative treatment, such as rest, stretches, and physical therapy may help achieve recovery in most patients within two months.
According to a study in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, surgery may be a consideration if this non-invasive approach fails and you are still miserable 6 months after trying conservative methods.
With several options for surgery, your recovery may vary depending on your choice. This study highlighted encouraging news. The average time for recovery was between 13.27 and 25.94 days, regardless of surgery type. If you are planning to return to stressful sports activities, expect a 3 months minimum recovery post-surgery.
So as you can see, each case's recovery time can differ.
Why It Takes So Long to Heal Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia (connective tissue in the foot) becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes pain and stiffness in the bottom of the foot near the heel.
An NIH informational article on plantar fasciitis states that this foot condition occurs in about 10% of the general population. It is common among runners and is the most prevalent cause of heel pain. Since it is typically an overuse/stress injury from running/walking and being on your feet for extended periods, rest helps to ease the symptoms significantly.
Thus the problem with the rehabilitation from plantar fasciitis is that most of us can not afford (or tolerate) to rest our injured foot for extended periods. We have to work and care for our homes and family. Thus plantar fasciitis seems to take forever to heal as we tend to aggravate the condition on a daily basis when we should instead be letting it rest and recover.
Other reasons why it takes so long to heal plantar fasciitis are:
Signs That Your Plantar Fasciitis is Healing
When you are tired of a recovery that seems sluggish, signs of progress are a relief.
Look for small encouraging indications that your plantar fasciitis is on the mend. These signs may creep in gradually and be hard to notice from day to day. However, seemingly insignificant gains such as these listed below point to progress towards a positive outcome.
Recovery from plantar fasciitis is not a sprint. Slow and steady can win this race if you are patient and follow the advice of your medical team. Although the rehabilitation process will be challenging at times, you will be happy that you gave rehab your best shot when your foot pain and stiffness are behind you.
Donna Reese, RN, MSN ,is a family nurse practitioner and RN who enjoys translating complex medical material into relatable content. Donna’s work can also be found in HealthCentral, Health Digest, TheMidLife, Wonderbaby, Genes 2teens, university nursing department sites, and many others.
Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. (2004.) “Plantar Fasciitis.”https://journals.lww.com/cjsportsmed/Citation/2004/09000/Plantar_Fasciitis.10.aspx
Washington University Orthopedics. “Plantar Fasciitis Exercises.” https://www.ortho.wustl.edu/content/Education/3691/Patient-Education/Educational-Materials/Plantar-Fasciitis-Exercises.aspx
Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research. (2020.) “Comparison of the therapeutic outcomes between open plantar fascia release and percutaneous radiofrequency ablation in the treatment of intractable plantar fasciitis.”https://josr-online.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13018-020-1582-2
NIH. (2022.) “Plantar Fasciitis.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431073/
Cleveland Clinic. “Plantar Fasciitis.”https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14709-plantar-fasciitis
WebMD. (2022.) “Plantar Fasciitis”https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/heel-spurs-pain-causes-symptoms-treatments