Have heel pain? How long has it been going on? 3 weeks? 6 weeks? 3 months? a year?
I hear it all the time in my office...."I was gonna wait it out", "I heard there is nothing you can do for it", "I tried what I read on the (insert any of the following) what worked for my friend, what the guy on the path told me, what I read on the internet".
We see a TON of heel pain, mostly plantar fasciitis. The longer a patient waits to be properly treated, the LONGER AND HARDER it will be to get rid of. Now I am not saying you should run to the doctor with every ache and pain, but if you have pain that is persistent (aka longer than a few weeks), is getting worse, or is limiting how you want to live your life....what are you waiting for?
When you come in earlier, you are in the ACUTE phase of plantar fasciitis. This is easily resolved with a slight decrease in activity, support of the plantar fascia, passive/active stretching of the calf muscle and some anti inflammatory treatments (which vary based on severity).
If you come in after you have had symptoms for months, you are now a CHRONIC case. I see a lot of these and yes, you will likely have to stop or drastically change your activity for awhile to get better. Some people even need to be put in a walking boot to remove the repetitive stress of walking. It can still get better, but will take a bigger commitment to healing. You will likely need orthotics for the long haul to control the risk of recurrence. This is the place most of my athlete-patients don't want to get to, but sometimes end up. At some point, you have to buckle down and do whatever it takes to resolve the problem.
The key is wherever you are in the process...you need a PLAN! You need a treatment protocol...not just "I'll try this today and well maybe this tomorrow". We find at Prairie Path Foot and Ankle that most ACUTE patients are 60-80% better after just 3 weeks of our treatment protocol and usually 90%+ (and returned to all activity) by week 6. Chronic patients, on the other hand, can take months to make that type of progress. Now if that isn't an argument for early intervention....I don't know what is?!