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What are natural treatments for plantar fasciitis?

Jane Milliff
Physical Therapy

There are numerous ways to treat plantar fasciitis and some you can easily initiate yourself. Try the following strategies:

  • Ice massage:  Rub an ice cube directly over the area of discomfort in a circular motion for 5-7 minutes.
  • Stretch:  Calf stretches against wall:  straight and bent knee, plantar fascia stretch
  • Proper shoes are essential. Be sure to replace running shoes after 300-400 miles of running, depending on your size.
  • Self massage the plantar fascia with tennis/golf ball or tubing
  • Deep tissue massage to calves
  • Decrease training intensity and cross train if possible
  • Strengthen your core and overall lower extremities

Wear a Strassburg sock at night.

If you have tried these remedies and still have pain, you may need to see a PT.

A recent study in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy looked at 60 patients suffering from heel pain. Half were given the stretches mentioned above; the other half underwent the stretches and received manual therapy. The group that received both manual treatment and self-stretching experienced greater improvement in physical function and a greater reduction in pain compared to those performing self-stretching alone.

 Manual treatments can include such things as trigger point dry needling, myofascial/deep tissue release, joint mobilization and manipulation, and manual stretching. All of these, in addition to various taping techniques, specific strengthening exercises addressing foot impairments and weakness of the hip and low back will help eliminate pain. 

Also, your therapist can determine the need for a foot orthosis to improve the biomechanics of your lower leg, decreasing strain on the plantar fascia. A full biomechanical evaluation by your therapist will determine the cause of the irritation, so you can eliminate the factors creating the aggravation. Getting to the CAUSE of the tightness is the key to its resolution and is what keeps it from coming back. Physical therapy is the detective work that teases out all contributing factors and helps you recover.

 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.