By Noelle Ihli, medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon, M.D.

The pain from plantar fasciitis is no joke. In fact, the condition can be so debilitating that walking feels all but impossible, especially first thing in the morning. When is it time to involve the help of a medical professional or foot doctor? What should you try before you seek medical attention for plantar fasciitis? What kind of doctor should you see?

Trying to determine the best course of action–especially when you’re in pain–can feel overwhelming to say the least. Keep reading to learn the answers to your questions about seeking help from a foot doctor.

Plantar fasciitis foot pain

Home Remedies You Can Try

Before you see a doctor, keep in mind that while the pain from plantar fasciitis can be severe, the condition often responds well to home remedies without medical intervention. Try a combination of the following home remedies. You might be surprised by how much they help!

Stretching: There are many simple stretches you can do right from the comfort of your own home. Stretching several times a day on an ongoing basis can strengthen your fascia and surrounding muscles and tendons, significantly speeding up the healing process. Try these easy stretches for plantar fasciitis.

Slip-in Orthotics: Cost-effective slip-in Heel Seats can provide immediate relief from the pain in your heels and fascia, allowing you to go about your daily activities by supporting and cushioning your fascia and heel.

Icing: Icing can greatly reduce the painful inflammation in your heels and fascia. Consistent icing, several times a day will provide the best results. It’s best to limit icing to 20 minutes at a time.

Dietary Changes: Weight and diet go hand in hand with plantar fasciitis. Click here to learn more about how weight and diet affect the health of your feet, and can be used to improve pain management.

When to See a Doctor

It’s important to see a doctor if you begin experiencing numbness in your feet or heels, fever along with the pain of plantar fasciitis, or if you start experiencing pain even when you’re not putting weight on the affected areas. You should also call a doctor if you’ve tried the home remedies above (along with a healthy dose of resting your feet and heels), and you haven’t seen improvement.

What kind of doctor for plantar fasciitis

What Kind of Doctor for Plantar Fasciitis?

General Practitioner:

If you decide that seeing a doctor is the right move to treat your plantar fasciitis, your general practitioner is a great place to start. Because plantar fasciitis is a common ailment, most GPs are quite familiar with it and can be a great resource in coordinating with a specialist or determining additional treatment.

Sports Medicine Specialist

A sports medicine specialist is a great option for anyone whose plantar fasciitis is a result of a specialized activity, like running, soccer, or football. This specialist will not only be able to help you with additional treatment options, but he or she can help make specific recommendations as far as getting back into the swing of things in your training regiment.

Orthopedic Specialist

An orthopedic specialist may be able to offer valuable insight into treatment options, especially if your plantar fasciitis is severe or there are other underlying problems with your joints and tissues. While orthopedic specialists do spend much of their time dealing with foot related issues, they also specialize in dealing with the body’s joints and tissues at large.

Podiatric Specialist or Foot Doctor

Podiatric specialists deal specifically with the muscles, joints, tissues, and bones of the feet. They’re known as “foot doctors” for a reason! In severe cases, or in cases that do not respond to treatment, your general practitioner is likely to recommend you to a podiatry specialist.

Keep in mind that your insurance may require you to get preauthorization to see a specialist. Start by visiting with a trusted general practitioner. He or she will be able to make a good recommendation and put you in good hands. If at any point you feel rushed to make a decision, or feel like a particular course of treatment might not be for you because of the potential side effects and risks (surgery or steroids, for example), remember that you’re your own best advocate when it comes to your health. Do your own research, and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion!

While most cases of plantar fasciitis can be treated effectively and easily at home without medical intervention, knowing your options for medical treatment is important and can be a critical step toward healing. Carefully monitor your symptoms, try at-home remedies, and then seek medical help if symptoms don’t improve to get you back on your feet!