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Natural Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

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Updated July 12, 2013

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.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is a 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 a mild pain at the heel.

Natural Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

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.

Here's a look at several natural approaches to treating plantar fasciitis:

1) Exercise

Simple exercises that stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon are key to alleviating plantar fasciitis. Your doctor can help you to develop an exercise program that targets the areas affected by plantar fasciitis.

2) Cold therapy

Applying ice to the affected foot for 20 minutes three or four times daily should help lessen plantar fasciitis pain.

3) 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.

Learn about other inflammation-fighting herbs.

4) 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.

Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis

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
  • runners
  • people whose jobs keep them on their feet
  • Wearing shoes that lack arch support can also increase your risk of plantar fasciitis.

    How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

    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.

    Sources:

    Winemiller MH, Billow RG, Laskowski ER, Harmsen WS. "Effect of magnetic vs sham-magnetic insoles on plantar heel pain: a randomized controlled trial." JAMA 2003 17;290(11):1474-8.

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