What is Plantar Fasciitis?
For those of us who don’t even know what plantar fasciitis is, let’s go through a quick rundown of what exactly plantar fasciitis is.
Plantar fasciitis is named after the affected muscle, the plantar fascia in the underside of your foot. The plantar fascia is the band that runs along the bottom of your foot, connecting your toes to the bones in your heel.
What’s really happening in plantar fasciitis is that this band becomes inflamed. Most often this is due to tiny tears in the muscle fibers in the fascia of that foot.
It’s more common in people who put more stress on their feet, like runners and overweight individuals. It can also be caused by a lack of proper arch support in your shoes.
What does plantar fasciitis feel like?
It usually feels like a stabbing pain that hurts the worst right in the morning when you wake up. Throughout the day, it will typically get less painful as the day goes on. It can get worse if you stand up after sitting for a while.
The pain occurs in the back part of the foot near the heel. It can happen on one or both feet.
There are many ways to treat plantar fasciitis and mitigate the symptoms. Some include pain relievers, ice, rest, and massage.
How Does Massage Help?
Massage, specifically deep tissue massage, is one of the best natural treatments for plantar fasciitis.
Good massage techniques work to relax the muscle tissue that is inflamed. When you get into the deep tissue of your foot, you encourage better circulation. This improved circulation means more oxygen and nutrients are getting into your sore, damaged muscle tissue.
This allows your plantar fasciitis to heal better and feel better.
You could go to a professional for this type of massage, but, believe it or not, you can get a high-quality massage at home.
Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started on the road to less heel pain.
Tips Before You Get Started
Before you get to it, let’s just look at a few tips and tricks that will help no matter what method you go with. These will make your massage more effective and comfortable.
Here are some pointers just to get you started.
Try in the Morning
Remember how we said that plantar fasciitis pain is worse in the morning?
Right when you wake up, try one of these massage techniques. This will get your feet warm and ready before you even take those first steps.
Plus, it’s also the most helpful because it treats the pain at its worst. And it can wake you up a little bit.
Start Soft then Increase Pressure
If this is the first time you’re massaging your feet, you don’t want to go too hard too fast.
Start with gentle pressure, checking out how each part of your heel and foot feels. You can poke around a little bit to test it all out.
It’s better to feel like the pressure isn’t enough and work your way up than it is to start too intense and cause more pain.
Avoid Super Sore Spots
If you notice there’s a part of your foot that’s in unbearable pain any time you touch it, back off of it. You could do more harm than good.
Now onto the techniques!
The easiest way to give yourself this massage and the gentlest way to start is to use your thumbs. You can control the pressure easily.
There are 2 different techniques to this.
Heel to Toe
- Sit down and cross one leg on top of the other.
- Start with your thumbs side-by-side at the heel of your foot.
- Stroke both thumbs up to your big toe then back.
- Repeat for each toe.
Side to Side
- Start in the same cross-legged position.
- Place both thumbs in the center of your foot.
- Stroke thumbs in opposite directions toward the outer edges of your foot.
- Repeat up and down the entire length of your foot.
This one is also easy and doesn’t require the effort of using your thumbs too much.
Consider investing in a nice massage gun. It’s very easy to use and can provide a lot of relief that other massage methods can’t.
With a massage gun, all you have to do is hold the device onto your sore feet. Move it up and down the length of your foot, pausing in places that need more massage.
Deep Tissue Massage at Home
A massage gun uses something called percussion therapy. What that means is a rubber or foam mallet that pulses back and forth deep into your muscle tissue at a fast rate.
By getting this deep into your muscle fibers, it’s able to increase circulation and break down a buildup of lactic acid. This makes recovery time shorter than other methods.
Ice is known to have some wonderful healing properties. So why not incorporate that therapy into your massage?
An ice massage is done by using a frozen water bottle to roll out those tight plantar fasciae. It’s also very easy to do.
- Sit down on the edge of your bed or a chair.
- Position a frozen water bottle underneath your foot.
- Roll your foot around on top of the water bottle, allowing the pressure from the weight of your foot to do the work.
Massaging with the Heel of Your Hand
If you want to cover more area during your foot massage, consider using the heel of your hand instead of your thumbs.
For this method, all you have to do is push the heel of your hand into the sole of your foot, running it back and forth from your foot’s heel to your toes. You can use your fist for this method as well.
If you spend a lot of time on your feet, your plantar fasciitis could be caused by something different than you may think.
Your calf muscles are connected to your Achilles tendon. When they become tight and painful it can contribute to plantar fasciitis in your feet.
Massaging out these tense calf muscles can allow your ankle to relax, causing less pain and strain on the soles of your feet.
There are a few different ways you can try this one out.
Pulling and Kneading
For this massage, we combine 2 different techniques.
- Take a seat and cross one leg over the other.
- Grab your calf with your fingers facing upward toward your shin and your thumbs wrapped around the calf muscle.
- Squeeze the muscle, working your way down and back up the length of your calf.
- With your hands in the same placement, pull your thumbs across your calf muscle toward your shin.
- Repeat this process up and down the length of the calf muscle.
A massage gun works the same way on your calves as it does on your feet.
Just work it up and down your calf and anywhere you feel tension.
Get Plantar Fasciitis Relief Naturally, From Your Home
Plantar fasciitis hurts, but with these massage techniques, you can make it better, naturally.