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Plantar Heel Pain Medication

  • Author: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Anthony E Johnson, MD  more...
Updated: Apr 18, 2016

Medication Summary

Medication is useful in the early stages, especially if the patient has begun stretching exercises, because, initially, these can worsen the pain.



Class Summary

Pain control is essential to quality patient care. Analgesics ensure patient comfort, promote pulmonary toilet, and have sedating properties, which are beneficial for patients who have sustained trauma or who have sustained injuries.

Acetaminophen (Aspirin Free Anacin, Feverall, Tylenol)


DOC for pain in patients with documented hypersensitivity to aspirin or NSAIDs, with upper GI disease, or who are taking PO anticoagulants.

Effective in relieving mild to moderate acute pain; however, it has no peripheral anti-inflammatory effects. May be preferred in elderly patients because of fewer adverse GI and renal effects.


Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Class Summary

NSAIDs have analgesic and antipyretic activities. The mechanism of action of these agents is not known, but NSAIDs may inhibit cyclooxygenase activity and prostaglandin synthesis. Other mechanisms may exist as well, such as inhibition of leukotriene synthesis, lysosomal enzyme release, lipoxygenase activity, neutrophil aggregation and various cell membrane functions. Treatment of pain tends to be patient specific.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Excedrin IB, Motrin, Ibuprin)


DOC for patients with mild to moderate pain. Inhibits inflammatory reactions and pain by decreasing prostaglandin synthesis.

Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)


For the relief of mild to moderate pain and inflammation. Small initial dosages are indicated in small and elderly patients and in those with renal or liver disease.

Doses >75 mg do not increase therapeutic effects.

Administer high doses with caution and closely observe patient for response.

Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)


For the relief of mild to moderate pain; inhibits inflammatory reactions and pain by decreasing the activity of cyclooxygenase, which is responsible for prostaglandin synthesis. NSAIDs decrease intraglomerular pressure and decrease proteinuria.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Chief, Division of Foot and Ankle Surgery, Director, Foot and Ankle Fellowship Program, Department of Orthopedics, University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine

Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, Orthopaedic Trauma Association, Texas Orthopaedic Association

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a speaker or a member of a speakers bureau for: Styker.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Anthony E Johnson, MD Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Antonio Military Medical Center; Research Director, US Army–Baylor University Doctor of Science Program (Orthopaedic Physician Assistant); Custodian, Military Orthopaedic Trauma Registry; Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine; Associate Professor, The Norman M Rich Department of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Anthony E Johnson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American College of Healthcare Executives, American College of Sports Medicine, American Orthopaedic Association, Arthroscopy Association of North America, Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons, International Military Sports Council, San Antonio Community Action Committee, San Antonio Orthopedic Society, Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons, Special Operations Medical Association

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons<br/>Received research grant from: Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program<br/>Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: Nexus Medical Consulting.

Additional Contributors

Heidi M Stephens, MD, MBA Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopedic Surgery, University of South Florida College of Medicine; Courtesy Joint Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of South Florida College of Public Health

Heidi M Stephens, MD, MBA is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Medical Association, American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, Florida Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Soft heel cushion to absorb shock.
Soft heel cushion and a cup.
Custom-molded orthotic.
Stretching exercise. Lean against the wall with the knee kept straight and the heel touching the floor.
Stretching the back of the leg at the edge of a stair.
Massaging and stretching the plantar fascia using a can.
A night splint applied on back of the leg and foot.
A night splint applied on the front of the leg.
Lateral radiograph of the hindfoot showing a cyst in the anterior aspect of the calcaneus in a 19-year-old patient who presented with heel pain.
Plantar fascia tissue-specific stretching exercise
Edema localized to plantar heel on the left foot in a patient with calcaneal stress fracture compared to the normal right heel
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