It is estimated that around two million people in the United States alone are affected by Plantar Fasciitis. Foot habits are not considered a cause since any day-to-day activity can cause the pain whether active or sedentary. People who carry excess body weight (overweight, obese, pregnant women, etc.) are more likely to have Plantar Fasciitis. People who engage in activities that require carrying heavy loads are also prone.
The reason is that the excess weight presses down on the plantar fascia ligaments, causing it to be inflamed. The conditions could worsen if Plantar Fascia is left untreated.
Corrective surgery is usually considered the last option given its low success rate. People affected by such condition typically opt for natural remedies for Plantar Fasciitis instead. Some people choose to either go through some measures to ease the pain while others choose the difficult path and power through the pain.
The Best Natural Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis
1. Proper Footwear
Basically, good arch support is the first thing to consider when selecting the proper footwear for Plantar Fasciitis. This could be in the form of shoe inserts or customarily made shoes for Plantar Fasciitis.
There are a ton of places out in the market that make shoes specifically designed for people with Plantar Fasciitis. These not only make sure that the conditions of your foot get treated but also satisfy your formal or athletic needs. Brands such as OrthoFeet and Vionic are popular brands with excellent arch support while Asics and New Balance are athletic brands that are Plantar Fasciitis friendly.
2. Orthotic Insoles
Some people would choose style over comfort whenever they choose what shoes they want to wear. Orthotic insoles are the best option if you're going to combine both style and comfort.
Having insoles with good arch support simulates wearing custom-made footwear for Plantar Fasciitis. Just like footwear, orthotic insoles also provide corrective features that give the ankle the proper range in motion while walking.
3. Compression Socks
Socks may not be as vital as orthotic shoes or insoles, but the right choice of socks can also help produce results. The tension of the socks' elasticity is what usually aids the treatment.
Comfort is still the key which is why one must consider buying brands with good reviews. Brands which do not bring discomfort when compression occurs on the heel and arch area when wearing them.
Compression sleeves for the foot is also another option.
4. Active Release Techniques (ART)
The Plantar Fascia tissue, the muscle fiber that connects the heel and the toes experience inflammation through various day-to-day activities and foot habits. It is important that the tension gets released as much as possible by way of Active Release Techniques.
Oftentimes some prefer to do the process of release on their own at the end of their day while others with severe cases of Plantar Fasciitis need the services of a chiropractor.
The process of Active Release Therapy involves the use of the hands to evaluate irregularities in the muscle fibers before applying directed tension to soothe the pain felt on the Plantar Fascia area.
5. Graston Technique
Similar to Active Release Techniques or ART, the Graston Technique involves the use of stainless steel tools. The purpose of this is to provide a more intense directed tension to the inflamed area.
In the case of Plantar Fasciitis, the Graston Technique is used to break up adhesions in the connective tissue of the Plantar Facia area as well as improve circulation of the blood.
Since a stainless steel tool is used to loosen up the muscle, this process can cause a little bit more discomfort compared to manual therapy by hand. Bruising and swelling are common side effects, but this does not affect the healing process.
6. Essential Oils
Although there aren’t many studies to back up essential oils as an effective cure, some people still credit the use of Peppermint and Lemongrass oil for bringing them relief.
The possible reason is that essential oils usually have anti-inflammatory properties which can help ease inflammation in the Plantar Fascia area of the foot. Some also have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which makes it dual purpose if applied to the foot area.
7. Vitamins & Supplements
The use of vitamins and supplements have always been an aid in preventing sickness as well as speed up healing and recovery. The same can be said for people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.
Here are some vitamins and supplements for Plantar Fasciitis:
· Ascorbic Acid
Also known as Vitamin C, it is one of the most popular supplements sold in the market. Studies say that increased consumption of Vitamin C helps strengthen and repair muscle tissues, which include the connective tissue of the Plantar Fascia.
Aside from supplements, citrus fruits are also a natural source of Vitamin C.
Magnesium is a very important nutrient due to its ability to help the body in calcium absorption. High calcium intake is useless without the aid of Magnesium.
In the case of Plantar Fasciitis, unwanted calcium deposits create heel spurs which may cause inflammation in the Plantar Fascia area. The role of Magnesium is to help avoid those unwanted deposits with proper calcium absorption.
Natural sources of Magnesium can be found in legumes such as black, red, and pinto beans as well as garbanzos and lentils. Avocados and Bananas are also rich in Magnesium as well as Spinach.
Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory properties which are essential in those with Plantar Fasciitis. There are many forms of this supplement including capsule, powder, and can also be bought in tea or liquid extract form.
Like Turmeric, Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory properties. This enzyme can be found in the stem of pineapple, as well as its juice.
Bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties help reduce swelling especially in the case of Plantar Fasciitis where the foot becomes overworked. It also helps relax muscles and reduce body fat, which is a common cause for Plantar Fasciitis.
8. Night Splints & Day Braces
Night splints and day braces are devices used for pain relief and corrective purposes, especially in Plantar Fasciitis. It served the same purpose as orthotic shoes and insoles but used when the foot is in the stable position such as when sleeping or in long stretches of sitting.
The device minimizes the stress on the plantar fascia area by allowing the connective tissue to stretch and ease the pressure on the inflamed area. Nights splints and day braces come at a price however they can range from around 60 to 80 dollars each.
The advantage of having a night splint or a day brace, however, is that it helps improve the foot's mobility after some time.
9. Foot Massagers & Rollers
Similar to the Graston Technique, the use of tools such as foot massagers and rollers are a must have if you wish to treat your Plantar Fasciitis at home. Just like other devices and shoes, foot massagers and rollers help ease tension on the inflamed area.
Others who do not have the time and resources to visit a chiropractor or a therapist must have these with them all the time.
Taping is similar to using compression socks except that in taping, the points of pressure can be controlled through tightness and looseness thus, controlling the amount of pull on the connective tissue. Kinesiology tape is used in this process, and it is said to be an effective treatment.
There are special instructions used for specific muscle groups that is why it is best that you consult an expert before applying the tape yourself.
11. Stretching Exercises
Stretching exercises are important as this helps to release tension on the Plantar Fascia area. These are usually done during the start and end of the day or whenever you feel the need for it during the day.
Stretching the toes of the affected foot helps stretch out the plantar fascia area for release. Another way to stretch is by use of towel with applied pressure at the bottom of the foot.
Acupuncture is the process of stimulating certain points of the body by use of needles. It is said to help ease the pain as well as heal certain health conditions.
In the case of Plantar Fasciitis, acupuncture has been proven to be an effective treatment as well as limit the possibility of relapse. This combined with herbal treatments has a success rate of 91.8% according to researchers.
Read more about Acupuncture for plantar fasciitis here:
13. Rest Feet
This one is a given as rest and relaxation have always been proven to help recovery. Give your feet some rest during the day and refrain from straining it from too much activity.
Rest combined with other forms of treatment (massage, exercise, supplements, etc.) can help the inflamed Plantar Fascia to recover fast.
14. Ice Feet
The icing is an often-used method when muscle pain is involved. It is because icing slows down the flow of blood especially when a certain body part gets beaten.
The cold effect also numbs down the muscle causing temporary relief. Over-icing, however, can cause tissue damage, so it is best not to apply ice in damps.
Prevention is important in any form of physical injury, and since corrective surgery isn't necessarily required, one can stick to the natural remedies for Plantar Fasciitis. Through the repeated process of treatment using these natural remedies, habit formation occurs and when that happens, your treatment plans won't look as tedious as it sounds.