It’s no big surprise given how common plantar fasciitis is amongst the running community that there are a huge number of natural remedies for treating the condition. What we do find really surprising is that no significant studies have been done to determine the underlying cause of the condition. A great 2009 article by Podiatry Today discussed many of the medical options available to treat the condition but the end result is always the same – good old fashioned rest.
Things really get tricky when you visit both your general practitioner AND your orthopedist. It’s extremely common to get conflicting information, if even the professionals fail to agree on the best treatment for the condition what can be done?
It’s no surprise that more and more athletes are attempting to find natural remedies for the condition. We’ve pulled together six of the most common natural remedies for treating plantar fasciitis.
Get Your Feet Up
If there’s one thing that both doctors and orthopedists can agree on it’s that rest is without a shadow of a doubt the best treatment for your condition. I’ve personally known many runners who’ve walked out of their doctors office feeling cheated when they’ve been told to get their feet up.
But it makes sense.
More time on your feed puts results in more stress being applied to the fascia ligament. It’s this stress which doesn’t allow the inflammation to decrease. If you really must exercise during your recovery then swimming is the king of exercises. The weightlessness of swimming gives your foot time to recover while allowing you to exercise.
If rest is the king of recovery treatment then wearing night splints would be queen.
Night splints help to stretch the plantar fascia ligament and Achilles which prevents them from tightening as you sleep.
While they can take some getting use to wearing as they’re not the most comfortable they have been shown to provide benefit in treating the condition.
Ice, Ice Baby
Most experienced runners will be all too familiar with the benefits of icing injuries. While there are many benefits from icing injuries such as controlling the pain, for athletes with plantar fasciitis the real benefit comes from helping to reduce the inflammation.
Here’s one of our favourite ways to ice plantar injuries that should be done 3 times a day for 10 minutes at a time.
Fill a round water bottle with water and put it in the freezer. Once frozen take the bottle out, put a towel down and roll the bottle under your foot, applying even downward pressure as you roll.
Taping Your Foot
The next few tips all have one thing in common – to provide more support for your plantar.
Many runners who’ve recovered from a bout of plantar fasciitis will often tape their feet up in an effort provide more support to the ligament.
Here’s a great video on how to apply kinesiology tape (KT tape) to support the plantar fasciitis:
Another area where you can really benefit from support is in your shoes, both for running and for your day to day life. You need to reduce the amount of pressure that’s placed on the ligament and this can only be done through good supportive footwear.
While we’ve put together a good guide on picking the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis which can be found here the best footwear will have good arch support and will control the motion of your foot.
Some runners swear by orthotic inserts however this can cause additional problems and they aren’t always the cheapest solution.
Stretch and Relax
Any runner who’s seen a physio will know that the condition doesn’t get better on its own – you need to do something to help too.
Stretching has been shown to offer both long-term prevention and short term relief from the condition.
As with wearing night splints, by stretching the ligament you prevent it from tightening up while the increase in flexibility that comes from a good stretching program allows the ligament to lengthen and helps create a more flexible plantar.
Plantar fasciitis can be painful and extremely frustrating. If you only take one thing away from this article it’s that the condition needs to be properly managed and this all starts with a visit to your healthcare practitioner. There is some trial and error in finding out the best way to treat the condition however after speaking to many runners we’ve found that the following to be the best treatment:
Have you suffered from plantar fasciitis? What was the best natural treatment that you found? Leave a comment below to let us know.