There are numerous natural remedies for treating your plantar fasciitis. It’s too bad, however, that there isn’t even a consensus on the underlying cause to the condition. And from track stars to athletes, you might think someone would figure this thing out simply due to the high profile of the condition and the attention it garners. Not even Major League Baseball’s Albert Pujols can buy relief – $25 Million annual salary and still battling plantar fasciitis after 9 years. His solution? Rest.
Instead, many healthcare professionals will merely suggest solutions from what is understood (based on results they see in their practice). What’s more, you might even find your primary care physician to provide you with conflicting information from what your orthopedist will give you. Everyone seems to have their own theories and their own statistics to back them up.
That just goes to show you that you need to be proactive and, more or less, “be your own doctor.” Here are several natural remedies for plantar fasciitis that have worked for other people to control their heel pain. Your best bet is to find out which of these is most favorable to your condition as trial and error and patience will be what ultimately leads you to the best results.
Rest Your Feet When You Can
This seems like a no brainer. In fact, getting rest seems like the go-to treatment for every ailment we’ve ever had all our lives. And when a doctor gives you “Mom’s old recipe for wellness,” you kinda hope he has some more stuff in his bag of tricks (that doesn’t include kissing you where it hurts, or bundling up!).
But this time it’s actually one of the better options. The more time you spend on your feet – forcing your inflamed fascia ligaments to support all of your body weight – the less chance you have of getting better rapidly. It’s counterproductive to what you’re trying to do. I mean, would you smoke if you had Bronchitis?
Use common sense, limit activity and give yourself the best chance to heal. However, if you must do some activity, swimming and bicycling require limited load bearing to your feet and are excellent alternatives to rigorous exercises.
Icing Your Feet
Icing is one of the more practical ways of controlling the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Not to mention it has value as an anti-inflammatory.
A popular technique is to fill up a water bottle and throw it in the freezer. When it’s nice and frozen, take it out and simply roll your feet over it, using it as a self-massager. Do this for about 10 minutes, 3 times per day.
Tip: Since the bottle will get wet after awhile, many suggest wrapping it with a light cloth to prevent water damage to your floor or carpet. Also, it will help to minimize the irritability of having a freezing cold water bottle up against your skin.
Many people use this technique as it is effective for pain relief. At least temporarily, in many cases.
Other popular options include…
- Icing your feet with a frozen bag of peas (since you’re not going to be eating them anyway, yuck!)
- Massaging with a ziplock baggie filled with ice
Taping For Plantar Fasciitis
Taping your feet is another popular method to support your fascia. It is not only therapeutic, but diagnostic in its method of providing arch support. It is thought that if you respond well to a low-dye taping, you will likely respond well to orthotic inserts as well.
What you are essentially doing when you tape your foot is providing more support for your fascia ligament and decreasing tension while you’re up and about.
Taping is suggested for before exercise, before going to work or right before going to bed.
There are a number of different techniques on taping. Here’s a popular video to help you do it on your own with Athletic Tape.
You can also use KT Tape, which is a popular tape amongst athletes. Find more self-taping videos using KT Tape on Youtube.
Support Your Arches, All The Time
If you really want to care for your feet and improve your symptoms, you need to take care of them all day long. The more you aggravate and put stress on your plantar fascia, the more damage you do and the less chance it has of healing itself. That means, no going barefoot.
A good shoe with arch support and designed for motion control is a fantastic option for work and daily activity. Or, you can add the appropriate orthotic insert to your existing shoes – as long as your shoes are still effective in correcting your Over-Pronation or Supination.
When you get home, you should rest your feet as much as you can. If you do need to get up and move around (or go to the store, or run errands, or work around the house) you can use a pair of orthotic slippers or flip flops. There are plenty of options available and many people dealing with plantar fasciitis now swear by them.
I’ve reviewed them in these posts, where heel pain sufferers, over-pronators and more have voiced their opinions on what works best for them. Check out the ratings below to find out what they like.
Best Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis
Best Inserts For Plantar Fasciitis
Best Flip Flops For Plantar Fasciitis
Best Slippers For Plantar Fasciitis
Night Splints, Night Socks & Compression Socks
It turns out that night splints are one of the most effective (and successfully documented) of all treatments. If you look around, you’ll notice many people that, when they stick to the protocol, they find definite improvement from those first few minutes of agony each morning.
There are a few sock splint options as well, like the Strassburg sock. It seems to have some favorable reviews, but at the same time might also cause discomfort as the toe is actually stretched back which causes the foot to be in a 90 degree dorsiflexion position.
Compression socks are just as they sound. They are socks that are several degrees tighter than normal socks and provide added strength to the arches of your feet. It’s more or less similar to an orthotic in that it keeps your arches from falling flat and provides a secure fit. Many of them are also specifically designed to increase blood flow, which in turn helps heal inflammation.
Stretching Exercises For Ligaments, Tendons and Muscles
There are many types of stretches and exercises you can do to help your plantar fasciitis. The benefits can be as follows…
Stretching and massaging is therapeutic and provides some level of instant relief.
It increases the flexibility of the Achilles and calf muscles, which is thought to play a role in plantar fasciitis.
Actually, here is a study that supports the use of an Achilles stretching protocol. Upon conclusion of the study, stretching was determined to be a key element in treating chronic plantar fasciitis.
Links to stretching videos
Rolling Ball Under The Arch Stretch
Morning Towel Stretch
Deep Tissue Foot Massage
Acupuncture As A Treatment For Plantar Fasciitis
There is some merit to acupuncture as a natural treatment option for your heel pain and alot of “holistics” prefer this route over options like steroid injections. Acupuncture is a simple technique that has many potential benefits. Two key benefits for use in patients with plantar fasciitis include…
Promotion of blood flow, which encourages healing.
- Release of natural painkillers, such as endorphins and norepinephrine.
Here is another study that was performed to assess the effect of acupuncture treatment on heel pain due to plantar fasciitis and the results were quite favorable.
What Else Has Worked For People With Plantar Fasciitis
Hot water foot bath after work
Changing shoes frequently
Physical Therapy (Graston Technique, Shockwave Therapy)
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medication (NSAIDs)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are another conservative option that can help. The most common NSAIDs are Ibuprofen and Aspirin and are used as pain relievers in addition to reducing inflammation.
You should discuss with your physician any use of medication.
Another option that many people use is the direct injection of cortisone into the plantar fascia. It’s a type of steroid and a potent anti-inflammatory. It may also expedite your recovery process.
Many doctors and health experts agree that limiting this treatment to once or twice is absolutely best. Any more can lead to additional foot problems, with increased pain being one of the most common side effects.
It’s important to know that while there are positive studies and encouraging testimonials from people that verify the success rate of any given treatment, there is no one protocol that works for everyone. You really do need to be your own doctor and implement a trial-and-error approach to treating your plantar fasciitis. Naturally, your podiatrist will have already suggested several of these ideas (or you’ve already been through them yourself). Always make sure to get the advice of a professional first – even before implementing these natural remedies for plantar fasciitis.
Be resilient and stick to your protocol. If something works, continue it.
Find me on my social channels and tell me what has and hasn’t worked for you. I’d love to find out so that we can help others get better and concentrate on the things that really matter in their lives!