A common cause of heel pain, plantar fasciitis is marked by inflammation in the band of tissue that connects your heel bone to the base of your toes. This band is known as the plantar fascia.
The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is severe, stabbing pain in the heel of your foot, especially during your first few steps of the day. Although pain tends to become less intense after those first few steps, it can return upon arising after a long period of sitting.
In most cases, plantar fasciitis affects only one foot. It tends to begin gradually, with mild pain at the heel.
In about 90 percent of cases, people with plantar fasciitis improve significantly after two months of treatment. Standard treatments include custom-fitted arch supports and physical therapy.
When left untreated, plantar fasciitis can become a chronic condition and leave you more vulnerable to knee, hip, and back problems.
So far, scientific support for the claim that any natural remedy can treat plantar fasciitis is lacking. Here’s a look at several natural approaches:
- Exercise: Simple exercises that stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon are key to alleviating plantar fasciitis. Your healthcare provider can help you to develop an exercise program that targets the areas affected by plantar fasciitis.
- Cold therapy: Applying ice to the affected foot for 20 minutes three or four times daily should help lessen plantar fasciitis pain.
- Ginger: Although no studies have explored the effect of ginger on people with plantar fasciitis, some medical experts recommend this herb for relieving plantar fasciitis-related pain and inflammation.
- Magnetic Therapy: Magnetic therapy (a form of alternative medicine that involves delivering magnetic fields directly to the body) is often touted as a natural means of easing plantar fasciitis pain. However, in a 2003 study of 101 adults, researchers found that magnetic insoles didn’t protect against plantar fasciitis any more than non-magnetic insoles.
Plantar fasciitis is often caused by repetitive strain on the plantar fascia. The following people may be at risk for this condition:
- Pregnant women
- People who are overweight
- People with flat feet or high arches
- People whose jobs keep them on their feet
Wearing shoes that lack arch support can also increase your risk of plantar fasciitis.
Using Natural Remedies
Due to the limited research, it’s too soon to recommend natural remedies for plantar fasciitis. It’s also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you’re considering using any form of alternative medicine, make sure to consult your healthcare provider first.
To increase your defense against plantar fasciitis, aim to maintain a healthy weight, wear supportive shoes, and replace running shoes after every 500 miles of use.