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At-Home Massage for Plantar Fasciitis

When my plantar fasciitis was at its worst, it felt like the bottom of my feet would rupture with every step. I did all the usual things — the stretches, the yoga poses, saw a podiatrist, got orthotics, etc. Yet, I still had pain. The next strategy in the treatment plan involved cortisone shots right into my heels, which really creeped me out. So, the doctor recommended some painful deep tissue massage. That’s not something I had the time or cash for, so I came up with my own solution. Perhaps it will help you too.

My initial strategy was to use the yoga preventive I’d learned a decade or more ago, where you sit in Virasana (basically, kneel and sit back between your heels) and use your knuckles to really dig into your feet from heel to toe.

But, I did it so much and dug in so hard that I tore the skin off my knuckles. Eeek.

So, I turned to this massage tool I bought eons ago.

Basically, I use just one of the knobs and a whole lot of pressure to really dig into the channels on the bottom of my foot. It hurts and builds some heat, increases circulation, etc.

I’m not going to tell that you that I have ZERO pain, but it helps a lot. I typically dig in for 15-30 minutes per day, when my feet really hurt.

Orthotics took away about 80% of the pain. This at-home foot massage probably drops it down another 5-10%. I’d prefer to be totally pain free, but considering all the running around I do with the dogs, hiking and such, I figure a little ache isn’t terrible.






Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Betty - June 26, 2009

Thanks for the great tips. I’ll try your suggestions. I know wearing flip-flops doesn’t help; but, socks in the summer will have to be limited to, as you say, three minutes or so. Maybe one day I will feel comfortable posting a picture of the bottom of my feet…haha.

Dog-geek - June 25, 2009

I’m sure you can find one cheaper if you shop around a little – here’s one site that has them a little cheaper:

I opted for the sock rather than the boot because I didn’t think I would ever be able to sleep in that huge, stiff boot. The sock was a lot cheaper and I was able to sleep in it – it did take a little getting used to, but I’m a terrible sleeper to begin with.

When I ruptured my plantar fascia, it made a horrible, audible snapping sound – at the time, I really thought that I had broken a bone in my foot. In retrospect, I wish it had only been a broken bone – it would have healed much more quickly and probably would have been less painful.

Rox - June 25, 2009

Thanks, Betty. I grew up convinced I had the most hideous feet on the
plant (siblings are so good at those things), but now I kind of think
my feet are cute. I didn’t think they looked great in the photo,
though, so it’s nice of you to say so.

My foot beauty strategy includes:

  • Not running around barefoot
  • Doing at-home pedicures (once a month in winter, every week or two in summer), including using a pumice
  • Slathering my feet with a heavy-duty lotion within 3 minutes of
    getting out of the shower, then putting on socks (even if I only wear
    them until I finish getting dressed)
  • If needed, I slather again at bedtime and put on socks.

Lay It on Thick Body Lotion from True Blue Spa

(I buy it at Bath & Body works, on sale after xmas in their annual 2-for-1 deal. I get the really big 10-ounce bottles. They’re usually $20 each, but this year I got 4 for $40. I still have one full bottle left. I hope I can make it last.)

They have a foot-specific lotion in this same line, but it is NOT nearly as good. I also use this same lotion all over in the winter to keep from feeling so, so dry … since we heat with wood, which is a crazy-dry heat.

Rox - June 25, 2009

That is so scary about the rupture after the shot. I’m so glad I did NOT go for that option. I haven’t tried that sock, but my podiatrist did recommend some sort of boot. I assumed, however, that it would be stupidly expensive, so I never asked for one. Nearly $40 for one sock seems pretty steep to me too, but I may give it a try. Thanks for the idea.

Betty - June 25, 2009

First of all, I’m sorry to hear you have pain, happy to hear you have solutions.

My biggest question is: HOW in the world do you get the bottoms of your feet, including heels, so smooth??? I use all sorts of creams, lotions, etc. Of course, I’m in flip-flops most of the year since we have warm weather (okay, HOT weather now). Your feet are beautiful, though painful. Let me know what you do to keep them that way, eh?

Dog-geek - June 25, 2009

Ugh! I don’t recommend the cortisone shots! I did it a little over two years ago, and followed my orthopedists instructions – rested it for 10 days after the injection, and then gradually returned to light activity. Well, I ruptured my plantar fascia at an agility trial a week later. I found out that cortisone can actually increase the chances of rupturing your plantar fascia – I wish I had known before agreeing to the injection! It was about 10 months (after tons of taping, physical therapy, painful deep tissue massages, etc) before I was really able to run again.

Anyway, have you ever tried the Strassburg Sock? It looks ridiculous, but it helped me more than anything else. I’m pretty much pain-free now, and don’t do anything special. On rare occassions, when my plantar fascia starts feeling tight or achy, I wear the stupid sock for a night or two, and I’m fine.

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