9 Self-Care Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

  • Bare feet
    Secrets to Relief
    Plantar fasciitis occurs when a ligament across the bottom of your foot tightens and aches. The condition causes heel pain in two million people per year. Fortunately, nine in 10 will feel better within 10 months. The secret to relief? Start these simple treatment methods. If pain persists, consult your doctor or a podiatrist.

  • couple-running-on-beach
    1. Lay off activities that worsen your pain.
    Keep track of the activities that worsen pain. Running, jumping, or step aerobics, which all involve pounding on hard surfaces, often tend to aggravate plantar fasciitis. Consider laying off until your pain subsides. Once you return, start slowly and rebuild gradually to avoid another injury.

  • man in pool
    2. Alter your exercise routine.
    That doesn’t mean you should give up exercise altogether. Maintain your fitness—and your waistline—with low-impact activities instead. Consider cycling, swimming, weight training, and stair or elliptical machines that keep your feet flat. You don’t need a gym membership. Many gyms offer “punch card” passes, which you can use until your feet feel better and you can get back to your normal exercise routine.

  • stretching
    3. Prep for your workouts.
    Warm up before any exercise to reduce strain on the muscles, tendons and joints in and around your feet. Start with a 10-minute walk or cycle wearing quality, supportive sneakers. Then stop and stretch your legs and feet. For instance, lean against a wall with one leg bent to lengthen your Achilles and calf muscles.

  • Green Ice Pack
    4. Ice it down.
    Ice packs shrink blood vessels, slowing blood flow to the injured area and calming inflammation. To target your plantar fascia, roll your foot over a cold water bottle or ice pack. Repeat for 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.

  • Medication Over The Counter
    5. Take a pain reliever.
    Drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories can ease the ache. Popular options include ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). But keep in mind these over-the-counter drugs can have side effects, including stomach irritation and kidney problems. Talk with your doctor if you have health issues or are age 65 and older. Also call if you find yourself reaching for them regularly after a month.

  • Sport shoes
    6. Seek support—in your shoes.
    Choose footwear with thick soles and extra cushioning for standing, walking or sports. This reduces the tension on the plantar fascia with every step. Soft silicone heel pads elevate and cushion your heel. And orthotics—either premade or custom-fit—often provide additional relief.

  • Man Sleeping on His Side
    7. Try a night splint.
    Most natural sleeping positions—with feet pointed down—tighten the plantar fascia. As a result, your heel pain may feel worse in the morning. Special night splints stretch your foot and ankle while you sleep. Though they can be uncomfortable at first, they are remarkably effective.

  • Tennis Balls
    8. Grab a ball and roll it out.
    Golf or tennis balls are for more than the sport itself. Place one under your foot. Move your foot back and forth over the ball to massage your heel and arch. This improves blood flow to injured tissue and breaks down adhesions (bands of scar tissue), and speeds healing. You can also try the massage with a cold can of soda—you get the combined effect of cold and massage.

  • Tired and Aching Feet
    9. Stretch well several times a day.
    From a seated position, place your injured foot over the opposite knee. Grasp your toes and gently pull them toward you. (Use a towel if you have trouble reaching.) Hold for 10 seconds; repeat 20 times on each foot. For best results, do this stretch in the morning before standing or walking.

9 Self-Care Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

About The Author

  1. Plantar fasciitis and bone spurs. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00149
  2. Plantar fasciitis: treatment pearls. American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. http://www.aapsm.org/plantar_fasciitis.html 
  3. Running and your feet. American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. http://www.aapsm.org/running.html 
  4. Sports injuries. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sports_Injuries/default.asp
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Last Review Date: 2021 Apr 10
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.