What is plantar fasciitis?
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons treats nearly 2 million people every year for plantar fasciitis. This is a common yet painful condition that occurs when the band of tissue between the toes and the heel bone becomes inflamed. This tissue provides support and cushioning. Called plantar fascia, inflammation can occur from walking, running, or standing for extended periods of time. Apart from being very painful, plantar fasciitis may become a chronic condition if it’s not treated.
How do you know if you have plantar fasciitis?
If you feel pain in your heel when you wake up in the morning and take your first steps or after you’ve sat for too long, then you likely have plantar fasciitis. The pain gets better with increased activity but often worsens after prolonged periods of time.
To treat plantar fasciitis, your podiatrist may recommend any of the following:
– Night splints
– Shoe inserts or supportive shoes
– Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
Treatment using Foot Massage
Many podiatrists and podiatric surgeons recommend cross-fiber massage to gain quick relief from plantar fasciitis-related pain. Not only is this effective in reducing the pain but it will prevent this condition from becoming permanent.
Here are a few types of foot massage you can easily try at home:
1. Sit on a chair or bed and place your foot flat in front of you so that you can easily reach it.
2. With the heel of the opposite hand, slowly push down the sole. Gently keep pressing from the heel and go towards the toes.
3. Use long strokes and light pressure. Gradually increase the stroke and pressure length. Use body weight to lean into your hand while massaging.
4. You may massage with a softly clasped fist as well.
2) Thumb Pushes
1. While sitting on a chair or bed, cross your leg over the other.
2. Using your thumbs, push down on your sole. Move along the length of your heel towards your toes and then return back to the heel. Move up and down along the foot along the line of each toe.
3. Massage along each toes line for 1 minute.
4. You may increase the pressure of the massage by leaning into your thumbs.
3) Thumb Pulls
1. While sitting, cross your legs.
2. Take both thumbs and start in the middle of the foot. Simultaneously pull one thumb towards the left side and one thumb towards the right side of the foot. This gently massage the fascial tissue. Perform this massage for up to 2 minutes.
3. Lean in using your body weight to add more pressure.
4) Toe Flexes
While performing any type of foot massage, and toe pointing or flexing. Use your feet to point forward and back as you perform the massage. Try to move your feet in circles (both directions) as well. This gently stretches and relaxes the plantar fascia tissue.
5) Ball Massage
1. Grab any type of ball, i.e. tennis ball, golf ball, dryer ball, etc.
2. Sit on a couch or comfortable chair. Place the ball under each foot arch. Lean forward with your body weight to adjust the pressure on the ball.
3. Now slowly roll the ball across the entire length of your foot. Use mild pressure to start and then gradually increase it by pressing down while rolling.
4. Perform this ball massage for at least one minute.
6) Ice Massage
The massage technique is similar to a ball massage except you’re using a frozen bottle or can in place of a ball. You may use this massage technique at night or in the morning before getting out of bed. It helps stretch out the plantar fascia and calm it.
To perform this massage, start by sitting on a chair or the bed. Then place the frozen can or bottle under your foot. Roll your foot forward and backward with moderate pressure. Perform this exercise for up to 10 minutes.
Professional Foot Massage
You may also seek a professional massage from a massage therapist. They can demonstrate different exercises, stretches, and massage techniques to relax the plantar fascia tissue.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that affects millions of people every year. These at-home massage techniques can help relieve much of the pain and even prevent it from becoming a chronic condition. Massaging your feet every day for a few minutes is also a good practice to help relax and rejuvenate a much-ignored part of the body; the foot. You can also check out the at home options for foot massage in our helpful guides.