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Natural remedies for plantar fasciitis?

 
gardener
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What are the best natural remedies for plantar fasciitis?
 
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For me, it was mostly relieved by changing from soft-soled hikers to hard-soled boots.

Also, perhaps try warm soaks with epsom salt and/or going barefoot whenever possible.


best regards,
-Pete

 
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Standing on a rolling pin/piece of pipe/dowel/tree branch and rolling back and forth on the arch (making sure to go up the heel). Hurts like hell, instantly reduces symptoms by a good 80% for me...
 
pollinator
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I'm not sure there are un-natural remedies.

My information (second-hand) is that elite sports clinics treat this with an intensive and agonizing physiotherapy that breaks up the scar tissue, allowing the tendon to heal properly.

Otherwise, it's all about migitation. I have to play around, choosing footwear with the right amount of flex vs. stiffness, and building my own home-grown orthotic footbeds out of all sorts of materials. It's a bit of a dance, but it works.

In addition to footwear and footbeds, it is entirely possible to adjust the way you walk to change the stresses. It really does matter.
 
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I fixed mine by switching from Keen style foot wear to barefoot (mostly Xero) shoes.
 
pollinator
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I guess it depends on what's causing the pain. For me, it turned out to be low grade, constant contraction of my calf muscles. The tight muscles pulled on the fascia of the feet to the point where standing up and walking became agonizing. I had to hobble for several yards before I could even walk somewhat normally.

I tried the braces that keep your foot flexed all night and it helped only a tiny bit. It got so bad that I had a knot of scar tissue on my left heel. I think the fascia was slowly being pulled off the bone. At least it felt that way.

I started using transdermal magnesium solution on my calves and it worked wonders. The muscles started twitching and slowly started letting go of the constant contraction. The pain started going away right away but it took several weeks for it to be dramatically reduced. The knot on my heel went away too.

I now use a concentrated solution of magnesium chloride on my calves when they get tight, and put this same solution in my daily homemade lotion and leave it on all day so that my body can absorb whatever it needs. It can irritate the skin with some people so dilute it until it quits being irritating. That is if it works for you.  If you have a cut you'll know it when the mag salt hits it but that only lasts 10 seconds or so. If you mix the mag solution with commercial lotions it will curdle some of them but that doesn't happen with the homemade stuff.

From what I've read, most Americans are magnesium deficient to some degree due to the depletion of minerals in our soil used for agriculture. Magnesium is used in over 350 processes in the body, including heart rhythm, muscle contraction, etc.

If you want to try this let me know and I will give you more details and the least expensive way to use this regularly.
 
pollinator
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Find shoes that are right for your feet and your lifestyle.  For me, that means not *too* flat.  Fist time I got plantar fascitis was when I got a pair of converse all-stars (Chucks) as a kid. To this day I cannot wear those shoes.  Also, switching drastically between different heel heights can cause PF for some people.

When I had PF during pregnancy, two stretches that helped the most were:

1. toe stretch on stairs: Use railing for balance. facing upstairs, stand with just the balls of both feet on the edge of the step, heels and arch hanging in the air. Using just the muscles of your feet and toes, gently raise and lower body a few inches.

2. scarf strech: Find a non-stretchy scarf or belt long enough that without straining you can hold one end in each hand while stepping on the middle.  Sit on the floor or on a bed with both legs in front of you. Pass the middle of the scarf across the bottom of one foot, the part where ball and arch meet. Holding one loose end in each hand, gently pull back with both arms until you feel a good stretch in your foot.
 
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If your problem is pretty serious and not responding to other methods, you might try out this book.  This young man was a gymnast and had his career cut short by it and was seriously disabled by the injury.  He figured out his own cure and wrote a book.

I came upon him online for a different reason - he makes the most straightforward videos about how to build your own solar systems.  I can understand them!!  His DIY mobile solar power book is a top seller on Amazon, and for good reason.  He was the first person I found on Youtube who made any sense when they talked about solar.  So many people don't explain enough of the concepts for a beginner.

Plantar Fascitis Survival Guide by Will Proswe

One day I watched a short video he did about his life, and that's how I heard about his history with that injury.

 
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In my case it was being caused by wearing cheap shoes too long.  They were breaking down under my weight, and as the support in the soles crumbled unevenly, it was putting considerable strain on the wrong things, without me really feeling it until the tendons started complaining.  

Throwing away garbage shoes (like those $5.00 sneakers with velcro ties) and wearing good shoes during most waking hours helped my symptoms go away.  Good shoes in this case meaning solid well-built firmly-laced shoes or boots with good even cushioning in the soles and either new-condition factory insoles or supplemental insole inserts (Dr. Scholls works for me, the Big & Tall that go to size 14 and cost twelve or thirteen bucks a pair).
 
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Jennifer Richardson wrote:What are the best natural remedies for plantar fasciitis?


Rebel Massage on YouTube has an EXCELLENT and 100% free video on how to massage the plantar fascia. It feels *sooooo* good. That plus doing yoga regularly has completely alleviated ours. We recommend the 26+2 Hot Yoga or Bikram Yoga.
 
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I used a lacrosse ball and just rolled my foot over it every night for a few weeks and my symptoms dissipated.
 
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Freeze a water bottle and roll your foot on that.  Similar to the lacrosse ball, but cold and brings down swelling.
 
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For me it was getting off concrete as much as possible.  I think that slab foundations and concrete floors in work places are responsible for a lot of it.  I find that if I have to spend a lot of time shopping in the big stores with concrete floors or just a layer of laminate or linoleum over concrete still cause me problems.  Moving to a pier and beam house with hardwood floors and working from home more often solved my problem.  
 
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So many great suggestions for managing the pain.

Preventing the pain? Like many others  I have bought every shoe and inset I could find. I finally (duh) asked my doc to send me to a podriatist, it hurt so bad. She asked me to describe it, then said “we’re taking care of that here...a podiatrist will just give you a shot.” Knowing how much the shot itself would hurt, I tried it her way. Hamstring stretching. Simple as that. The scarf exercise described in a earlier post. The wall exercise (easy to google). Toe touches (gently).  I like the toe touches because I can do them whenever I think of it without having to arrange myself.

After a couple of weeks I could walk to the kitchen with no pain.  If I get lazy with the stretching the pain will begin to return. Often I can cut it off early, with my leg on an ottoman (eg reading or tv position), and with my leg straight, flexing my foot with my toes toward my nose as hard as I can. Hold, release, repeat, until I’m sick of it.  I’m pretty close to normal now (in the foot department, that is).

Shoes are not wasted, however. Even though the good shoes didn’t solve my pain problem, the are essential for maintaining the good results of all that stretching. If I try to wear the wrong shoes, it all comes right back.  For me, strong arch support for my crazy high arches is a must.  I’ve found that Dr Scholl’s $12 3/4 length high arch insoles turn most any footwear into heaven on earth. I even put them in my slippers.  Of course I didn’t try those until I spent my mortgage money on the “proven” shoes and soles. Tip: the men’s seem to work better than the women’s.

I hope you find the combo that works for you. The pain is unbelievable. And when you don’t want to walk, life-limiting. And from personal experience, fattening. And depressing.  

I do agree with the notion that really hard floors, like concrete, can exacerbate it, especially if standing a lit (rather than walking). I always find walking outside on unpaved surfaces easier on my feet, though not on my speed or balance; to me, a minor sacrifice for all the good.
 
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Lose some weight. Seriously. I was constantly on concrete floors. I put some effort in per doctor recommendation and lost 20 pounds, along with the stretching exersizes the problem went away. For me the exercises were not enough.

Now, without concrete floors, I don't have the irritant, the weight plus more is back. Sigh.
 
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I had a relatively mild case once. Replaced the worn out shoes I had been wearing. The heels had gradually gone wonky without me realizing it. Then went barefoot as much as possible for a week or two. When I walked I moved slowly & carefully stretched the foot muscles in the process. Seemed to work. No more problems with it since.
 
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hiya jen,

for me it the cause was calf tightness. the big shift/change in behaviour was sitting in a chair with my heels beneath my hips for a full shift, for many months.  it was like i wore high heels or so for a while each day.  stretched the heck of them for 10 min a day at lunchtime to fix it.  

the pain started with a 'potato chip crunch' feel under one of my heels- just slight for a while, which i ignorantly (is that word) plowed through.  a few hundred miles later, no longer able to keep going, i got some basic treatment...

it's been two weeks or so since your post- you any better?  was your pain proceeded by any change in activity?

scott
 
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When I first read this post 4 months ago, I did not know what plantar fasciitis was - had to look it up!  Well. it turns out, that's what I've got right now and it is rather painful.  I couldn't find many natural remedies, save the possibilities of acupuncture and osteopathy that may or may not help, some kind of exercise and special supporting in-soles are also meant to be good.

Anyway, a few nights ago, I couldn't sleep so I went to the bookshelf and picked a random book in the herbal medicine section and I found out that fresh plantain (plantago) leaves and also  fresh mullein leaves in your shoes is suppose to help greatly.  Have to  change them often I would imagine.  Well, I don't know if it works or if it's just and old wife's tale, but I'm willing to try it.  Just thought I would share this in case it works for someone.
 
pollinator
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For me, switching to barefoot/minimal shoes was key. The slight heel and insoles that the doctor recommended felt better for a while, but ultimately were just a crutch. The other things that helped were stretching, both my feet and ankles, but also to just increase flexibility so that I could easier massage my own feet. I once I could do that, I would massage my feet nightly with an herbal salve, mine was arnica, yarrow and a special plant. Other than that, just reducing inflammation. When I feel the symptoms coming on, and get back to this routine, if it's fallen away.
 
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