Massage for Plantar Fasciitis: A Guide to Start
The first thing to do when dealing with plantar fasciitis is to stop doing what caused it in the first place. That means stopping all running, jumping, or any activity that causes your foot pain. If you are unable to stop these activities then see a doctor immediately!
You may have other injuries which need attention too such as sprains, strains, bruises and cuts.
If you are able to stop running, jumping, or any other type of physical activity then you will want to begin taking some simple steps to relieve your pain. These steps can include the following:
Wear supportive shoes. Shoes with a flat sole (no arch support) reduce stress on the plantar fascia and tendons. They also help prevent injury from twisting or slipping while walking.
If possible try not to wear high heels; they cause more strain than they alleviate.
Wear socks that cover the bottom of your feet. Socks with a thick sock liner like those made especially for plantar fasciitis can provide extra cushioning and keep them warm during cold weather. Avoid cotton socks because they absorb moisture and make your feet feel clammy.
Cotton socks are also often the most common type worn by runners, so they are likely to be found around town where you live or work.
Add a heel pad to your shoe. Heel pads are flat pieces of foam, plastic or rubber that can be glued to the inside of your shoe’s heel. This helps with cushioning and raising your foot up so it doesn’t hang as far over the edge of the heel.
They are also easily removed when you want to wear a different pair of shoes like slippers or sandals.
Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to help relieve heel pain and inflammation. Always take these with food or with a full glass of water, and never take them on an empty stomach. These types of medications can cause stomach irritation, indigestion and sometimes even internal bleeding if not taken properly.
Rest your foot for at least 48-hours. This means that you should limit walking and standing to travel from your car to the house or bathroom. Also avoid walking or standing outside whenever possible.
Many people with plantar fasciitis like to keep a pair of slippers or sandals by the door so their feet can rest while they travel from their car or around their house.
Apply ice after resting your foot for 48-hours. This helps reduce swelling and pain, and encourages healing. Ice should be used for 20 minutes at a time, and can be applied up to four times daily.
It is best to apply ice before doing any physical activity that involves your feet.
To use ice, wet a washcloth or paper towel with cold water and squeeze most of the water out so it is not dripping. Then loosely wrap it around an ice cube and place it on the top of your foot near the injured area. Take a piece of plastic wrap large enough to cover the outside of your foot and toes, and wrap it around your foot so that the wet cloth with ice doesn’t touch anything but your foot.
This will help keep the ice on longer and prevent burning anything if the ice should fall off.
Wear a night splint (ankle brace) at night while you sleep. This device keeps your foot in a neutral position throughout the night, which reduces tension on the plantar fascia. Many different versions are available in stores and online.
Your foot may feel tender or even swollen the first few times you wear it, but within a few days you should notice an improvement in the pain and possible reduction in swelling
When you first begin walking again, start out slow. Take short walks around the house for 30 minutes a day. As the pain subsides, you can walk outside for longer periods of time.
After a few days, you should slowly begin to feel much better. It is important to slowly increase your walking to prevent pain from returning. Check with your doctor before resuming normal activity, however, as he may tell you to continue resting your foot.
If you do not get relief by resting, applying ice and wearing a night splint, or if the pain and swelling become worse, you may have a more serious condition known as a stress fracture. A stress fracture is a crack in the bone that occurs as a result of excessive strain or overuse. If you suspect you have a stress fracture, you should see your physician immediately.
By following these simple steps, you can resolve nearly any injury. If, after a few weeks, you do not experience relief from your plantar fasciitis, contact a podiatrist. He or she can examine your foot and provide further diagnostic tests if necessary.
Sources & references used in this article:
Treatment of plantar fasciitis by CC Young, DS Rutherford, MW Niedfeldt – American family physician, 2001 – aafp.org
Plantar fasciitis and other causes of heel pain by SL Barrett, R O’Malley – American Family Physician, 1999 – aafp.org
Transverse frictional massage for plantar fasciitis: a clinical pilot trial by G Formosa, G Smith – International Musculoskeletal Medicine, 2011 – Taylor & Francis
Plantar fasciitis: diagnosis and therapeutic considerations. by M Roxas – Alternative medicine review, 2005 – Citeseer