Coping with plantar fasciitis, known for causing sharp pain in the heel or foot arch, can be very painful. This condition impacts many, including active seniors and athletes. But plantar fasciitis massage can help ease pain and aid recovery. Many of these massage tecqniques you can do yourself at home.
This article gives 9 specific massage techniques you can try, as well as some overall guidance on maintaining health in the future.
- Understanding Plantar Fasciitis
- Why Use Massage to treat Plantar Fasciitis?
- Guidelines for Plantar Fasciitis Massage
- Specific Massage Techniques
- Heel of hand, thumb push and pull, use ball or ice, calf massages
- Life Activities Alongside Massage
- Vibration Plates for Plantar Fasciitis Massage
- Customizing Your Plantar Fasciitis Massage Routine
- The Importance of Consistency and Patience
- Holistic Wellness: Beyond Plantar Fasciitis
- Final Thoughts and Recommendations
Understanding Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that results when the plantar fascia, a thick tissue band under your foot, gets inflamed. This tissue is crucial as it absorbs shocks and supports your foot’s arch.
When inflamed, it can lead to considerable pain, often felt strongly with walking the first steps after resting.
Dr. Zeigler leads explains injury recovery with vibration
Why use Massage to treat Plantar Fasciitis?
Massage is key in managing plantar fasciitis and offers multiple benefits:
- Reduces Inflammation: Gentle massage can help soothe inflammation and ease pain.
- Boosts Circulation: It encourages blood flow, which brings vital nutrients and oxygen to the affected area.
- Increases Flexibility: Regular massage helps make the plantar fascia more flexible, reducing the chance of more injuries.
Guidelines for Plantar Fasciitis Massage
Starting off, gently massaging your feet can offer relief, especially if you’re experiencing heel pain. The key is to begin with a soft touch, gradually increasing pressure as your discomfort lessens. Avoid exerting force on highly tender areas.
Since heel pain often peaks upon waking, try employing a couple of these massage techniques while still in bed, prior to bearing weight on your feet.
Warming up your feet with a gentle massage can encourage blood flow to the region. Using a bit of moisturizer during the massage can be beneficial.
- Focus on Plantar Fascia: Pay special attention to the tissue strip running along the foot’s bottom. Increase thumb pressure, moving from the heel to the toes.
- Stretch the Plantar Fascia: Gently draw your toes back towards your shin to stretch the plantar fascia. Hold this position for a few seconds before releasing.
- Massage Tools: Some benefit from tools like rollers or balls. Use these to roll your foot over, massaging the arch for a deeper effect.
Specific Massage Techniques
As you work through these techniques, you may feel a difference in pain. Listen to your body and use the options that feel best to you. If you’re experiencing issues in both feet, ensure to massage each one.
Here are some techniques to explore and find what suits you best:
- Sit on a bed or chair, bringing one foot up to a comfortable position.
- Press down on your foot’s sole with the heel of your opposite hand, moving from heel to toes.
- Begin with softer, longer strokes, gradually increasing pressure and stroke length. Lean in to apply more pressure as needed.
- Repeat this several times to loosen the fascia tissue.
- Alternatively, you can use a softly clenched fist for this massage.
- Sit with one leg crossed over the other.
- Use both thumbs to press along your sole, moving from heel to toes and vice versa.
- Spend 1 to 2 minutes working your thumbs across your foot.
- Lean in more for increased pressure.
- Sit and cross your legs.
- Place your thumbs in the middle of your foot, pulling them apart, moving the fascial tissue.
- Cover the entire surface of your foot with this motion for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Increase pressure by leaning in.
While performing heel-of-hand massage or thumb pushes, try flexing your toes in different directions. Massage each toe individually, pulling and rotating them gently.
Use various balls like a golf ball or tennis ball for this technique.
- Sit comfortably and place a ball under your foot’s arch.
- Gently roll the ball along your foot, adjusting pressure as needed.
- Spend about a minute on this exercise.
This technique uses a frozen can or water bottle, beneficial for morning and evening routines.
- Sit on a bed or chair with a frozen item under your foot.
- Roll it back and forth for 5 to 10 minutes.
Tight calf muscles can contribute to plantar fasciitis, making calf massages a helpful remedy.
- Sit and cross your legs.
- Squeeze your calf between your fingers and thumbs, moving up and down the leg.
- Sit and cross your legs.
- Grip your calf and pull the muscle forward.
- Work up and down the leg.
- Sit with your leg extended on another surface.
- Roll a rolling pin or foam roller from knee to ankle and back.
Each of these techniques can be tailored to your comfort and needs, helping alleviate discomfort in your feet and calves.
Consider These Life Activities Alongside Massage
To enhance the treatment of plantar fasciitis, consider these lifestyle changes:
- Choose Supportive Footwear: Select shoes with solid arch support and cushioning. Avoid barefoot walking on hard surfaces to prevent worsening symptoms.
- Manage Weight: Keeping a healthy weight lessens foot stress. Extra weight puts more pressure on your plantar fascia.
- Low-Impact Exercises: Participate in activities like swimming or cycling. These exercises keep you fit while minimizing foot stress.
- Regular Stretching: Daily stretch your Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Tight calves can increase plantar fasciitis discomfort.
Vibration Plates for Plantar Fasciitis Massage
A whole body vibration plate can also greatly enhance treatment for plantar fasciitis. Resting your feet on the plate for exercise that moves up and down rapidly can be an automated self-massage. This option can accelerate the massage treatment that you would do with your own hands.
- Sitting on a Stool Exercise: Sit comfortably on a stool and rest your feet on the vibration platform. This position gently massages the plantar fascia.
To increase your success, use these guidelines:
Begin with Low-Frequency Vibrations: Start your sessions with frequency settings between 6-10hz (speeds 20-30 on Lifetimevibe). These lower frequencies are particularly effective for easing plantar fasciitis symptoms. Many vibration plates do not have these low-frequency options and can actually make plantar fasciitis worse.
Gradually extend the duration of your sessions as you get more accustomed to the vibrations, for improved results.
Customizing Your Plantar Fasciitis Massage Routine
Each person’s foot structure and pain sensitivity varies. To improve the effectiveness of your massage routine, tailor it to your unique needs. Consider these strategies:
- Focus on Tender Spots: Notice the most painful areas of your foot and massage them gently.
- Adjust Pressure: Modify the pressure based on your comfort level and the intensity of your foot condition.
- Combine with Stretching: Enhance the massage by including stretching exercises for a comprehensive approach to relief.
The Importance of Consistency and Patience
To effectively manage plantar fasciitis, it’s important to stay dedicated and regular with your care routine. Massage can offer quick relief, but for lasting improvement, make it a part of your daily routine. Consider using a tool like LifetimeVibe for your daily massages, whether you do it yourself or seek professional help. Consistency is key to long-term relief.
Holistic Wellness: Beyond Plantar Fasciitis
To stay free of plantar fasciitis after massage and other self-care has removed the pain, continue several health habits. Find ways to make sure you’re consistent in these healthy behaviors:
- Embrace Total Body Fitness: Regular exercise that strengthens and increases flexibility can help prevent foot issues.
- Pay Attention to Diet and Drink Plenty of Water: It’s important to eat healthy foods and drink enough water for better health.
- Manage Stress with a Good Mindset: Doing calming activities like meditation and yoga can reduce stress.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
When you begin addressing plantar fasciitis, remember each person’s response to treatment can vary. Listen to yourself and use those massage techniques that you notice start to reduce pain as you use them. Maintain other healthy habits to keep the pain away.
If you’re considering using whole body vibration plates, start with brief sessions. As you progress, you can slowly extend these sessions and use oscillating plates capable of frequencies between 5 and 10hz.
On H, Yim J. Effects of local vibration combined with extracorporeal shock wave therapy in plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial. J Rehabil Med. 2023 Oct 23;55:jrm12405. doi: 10.2340/jrm.v55.12405. PMID: 37869937; PMCID: PMC10614648.
Local vibration combined with extracorporeal shock wave therapy is an effective treatment for chronic plantar fasciitis.
Treatment should start with stretching of the plantar fascia, ice massage, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Many nonsurgical treatment modalities have been used in managing the disorder, including rest, massage, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, night splints, heel cups/pads, custom and off-the-shelf orthoses, injections, casts, and physical therapy measures such as shock wave therapy.