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Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

Posted by LisaD on 6/14/05 at 22:11 (176796)

I have suffered with plantar fascitis for 3 years now. I have utilized numerous orthotic devices, NSAIDs, stretching/exercising the feet and legs, cessation of sports that aggravate the condition, physical therapy, icing and night splints. I am stiff suffering from significant pain, which now has become continual throughout the day and very debilitating. My doctor is now recommending shock wave therapy and possibly surgery if that fails (which he is not enthusiastic re: results). I agree with him that surgery seems a poor option and I am dubious re: shock wave therapy as it seems very expensive and he only reports about 50/50 success with his patients using this form of treatment. I have read about casting to immobilize the foot with a walking cast and am curious if I should discuss this option with him (he has not mentioned it as an option). How successful is casting and are there any other treatment options left for me besides the shockwave therapy and surgery?

Thank you for any feedback.

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

rudy on 6/14/05 at 22:20 (176797)

i also had p/f. for 3 yrs then 1 yr ago i had open p.f. surgery it is barly stsrting to heel last wk mri showed imflamation so i gota new doc who said we have to bring down swelling so i might get casted now even in a lot of pain i startedhour walks and hikes so i never gave the surgery a chance to heel ibelive that is the answer

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

fernando on 6/15/05 at 00:28 (176806)

immobilize the foot is the best thing to do, I had cronic PF por two years and I got relieve after complete 6 weeks immobilization, so give it a try, I know it is hard since you need to work, but I did it and dont regret it, maybe you have not given your feet enough time to heal ( rest ), and this is specially important in cronic cases os PF...rest and good luck

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

frustrated on 6/15/05 at 06:52 (176809)

my best friend was casted and it totally cleared up her pf. (we actually went on vacation while she was in her cast.) it has been several years now and she has had no flare ups. my podiatrist has only talked about injections (which haven't really worked) and surgery. i plan to bring up casting at my appt next week.

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

elvis on 6/15/05 at 14:01 (176855)

Lisa........Casting did nothing for my chronic pf except make every bone and joint in my foot hurt too. The heel didn't hurt for about 3 days after the cast came off but then it was back and as hurt even more. I did all of the things that you tried too. Just a month ago I got relief from taping and now a new very rigid orthotic (Sportsthotic by Langer). My pain is 80% reduced and I can now walk an hour with no additional pain. The rest of my foot still hurts. The doctor says from the change in gait caused by the pf and I can buy that but I also think that darned cast has contributed to my non-heel foot pain too.

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

JanP on 6/15/05 at 14:23 (176861)

I have wondered about an aircast, or walking cast that could be taken off and the foot exercised (non-weight bearing) and stretched. When you talk of casting you mean a non removable plaster type, right.

Has anyone had experience with the aircast, removable type?

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

elvis on 6/15/05 at 16:00 (176883)

I had the traditonal non-removable cast. After 2.5 weeks the bottom got soft from sweating while taking a shower. I covered it with a big blue legging that I put on my leg and then removed the air with a hand pump. My leg looked like a shrink wrapped pickle! It didn;t leak but I guess I sweat too much and the bottom of the cast got soggy. After that the podiatrist put me in a Velcro style walking boot. I only took that off to take a shower.

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

JanP on 6/15/05 at 21:42 (176909)

Elvis, did you stretch and exercise once you had that removable cast? It seems to me that would be essential.

Combine a cast to protect the foot from continual injury, along with exercise and stretching would seem to be make for a win-win situation.

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

elvis on 6/16/05 at 00:06 (176918)

No. I was told to keep the Velcro boot on 24/7 except for when I took a shower. I guess it was a big mistake, huh?

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

JanP on 6/16/05 at 08:30 (176925)

I guess I've been thinking about trying the removable cast along with stretching, and have wondered if anyone else has tried it.

I'm getting some relief from stretching and taping, just don't know if that will take care of the problem or if more drastic measures are needed. The more I read this site I realize that I'm not as bad off as a lot of you are, but it still HURTS! I've had this 2-3 years

Dr's, have you ever prescribed immobilization, along with stretching?

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

Ralph on 6/16/05 at 08:50 (176931)

Scott has made a lot of information available on his site. Areas that may be of intrest to you are the ones titles 'our surveys' and 'search'.

In the survey area you will find readers results to the various treatments or devices they tried. How much help they got form them. You may want to see how the use of a removable cast rated there.

In addition you can also use the 'search' tab and plug in 'removable cast' to see if other readers have posted their experience with it.

Last but certainly not least others that post here will be happy to share their experience with you. They will respond.

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

Laura on 6/16/05 at 08:55 (176932)

Are you sure your foot pain is not from the new 'rigid' orthotics. I'm a loooooooong time sufferer and what I've noticed is that every orthopaedist, podiatrist, physical therapist and chiropractor that I've seen wants you to try thier favorite orthotic (I've got a drawer full of them). I can also state for a fact that some create a WHOLE LOT more pain than that do good! My opinion is that no doctor of any sort can tell you whether or not an orthotic is working, but your feet can give you a very good indication! I can also state that there are lots of other things that can be wrong with your feet that will not allow the PF to heal or will cause re-injury frequently. I don't know how long you've had PF, but don't wait an extra minute to try and figure out the source of the problem. I waited, now I'm a 37 year-old single mom who can barely walk to the mailbox. I'm looking at several surgeries on my feet, knees and hip......It's all connected and if you limp around for too long it can create more problems. I'm sure that I've walked on the outside of my feet for a long time and it has irritated and changed stress on most of the joints in my lower body. Anyway, I hope you have much better success. If I had it to do all over again, I would have taken researching the available treatments into my own hands and told the doctors what I wanted done. Unfortunately, most of the doctors that I have seen all tried slight variations of the same treatments over and over and it delayed and possibly eliminated my opportunity for truely healing my feet. I'm just hoping for some restored ability at this point!

Good Luck!


Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

elvis on 6/16/05 at 11:08 (176941)

Jan.......I tried taping my own foot with little relief. When my new podiatrist taped my foot I felt instantaneous relief (~80). He told me when people try to tape their own feet that they many times twist their foot into a pronated position. This can happen by putting your left foot up onto your right knee in order to tape it. After the doctor's tape job wore off I had my wife put the tape on with my foot pretty much straight at 90 degrees and it felt just like when the doctor did it. My doc said that if the tape helps then there is an 80-90% correlation that a hard orthotic will also help. For me he has been correct. My new orthotics are giving me great pain relief and I can now walk 1 hr with no additional pain. My old orthotics (which I bought about a month into pf)gave a little. The new orthotics are rigid plastic and don't give at all. As I've said before the rest of my foot hurts now, probaly due to the change in gait caused by the pf and I think the cast that I had on for 6 weeks last June/July. I go back to my doctor on Monday.

Re: Casting as treatment for plantar fascitis

JanP on 6/16/05 at 14:26 (176956)

Thanks for recommending the search tab. I've even recommended that other people use it! Duh. Will do.

Laura, I'm going to have a family member tape and see if I have better luck. Now I gotta run, we're outta here to visit family for a few days.