Your plantar fascia is a ligament on the bottom of your foot that connects the heel bone to the toes. It supports your arches and absorbs shock when you walk. Small tears can happen if too much stress and tension are placed on the ligament. Repeated stretching and tearing can irritate, and lead to inflammation of the fascia which leads to the common issue known as plantar fasciitis.
Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis
To diagnose plantar fasciitis, your provider will take a detailed medical history and do a physical examination. They will check for areas of tenderness in your foot. Typically, a diagnosis can be made without further testing. However, they may want to do an X-ray or MRI to ensure there isn’t another problem causing your pain.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Most people with plantar fasciitis can use conservative treatments such as rest, ice, and stretching, and recover in a few months. Many people can use over-the-counter medications like naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain relief.
Sometimes, stretching and strengthening therapies such as physical therapy, night splints, and orthotics can help remedy the situation.
If conservative remedies don’t help, your provider may recommend more intense treatments like steroid injections, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, ultrasonic tissue repair, or surgery if needed.
Plantar fasciitis surgery involves releasing the plantar fascia from the heel bone. The procedure is typically only done when pain is severe, and all other treatment options have failed to provide adequate pain relief.
Cost of Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Many health insurance plans cover at least part of the cost of plantar fasciitis treatments, with a copay or coinsurance of about 10% - 50% of the treatment price.
If you don’t have health insurance, you could spend up to $500 for OTC medication, comfortable shoes, and a night splint. Another common treatment is custom orthotics, which can range from $200 - $800. Physical therapy can cost several thousand dollars uninsured, and if surgery is required, it can cost up to $10,000 or more.
How an HSA Can Help
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-exempt account that allows you to save for and pay for certain qualified medical expenses.
You can use HSA funds to pay for a wide range of plantar fasciitis treatments. Items such as night splints, orthotic inserts (custom or off the shelf), physical therapy and even surgery can be paid for by using HSA funds.
HSAs take time to set up and build savings. They are a great way to save for the medical expenses you have now or will need down the road. Funds in your HSA rollover year to year, so you don’t have to worry about the “use it or lose it” that comes with other types of accounts. Also, you can take your HSA with you wherever you go without losing funds.
If you’ve been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, rest assured that you can use HSA funds for many of the associated expenses.
Plantar fasciitis is a common issue. By knowing what to expect to pay for treatment, you can move forward and get back to walking pain-free.
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