12 Tools for Treating Plantar Fasciitis Reviewed
A while ago, I wrote an article which mentioned a few exercises for treating plantar fasciitis, so today we will continue this topic with another aspect of treating plantar fasciitis: which tools are best for helping you to lessen your pain or discomfort.
12 Tools for Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Effectively maintains appropriate pressure while you sleep, prevent the plantar fascia from shortening when not in use
Soft interior padding helps with comfort
Allows limited mobility if necessary
Not easy for some people to sleep in, especially for those who sleep on their side
One little thing that we really like about this product, is the fact that there isn't a need to buy in multiples. You can use them in your other shoes, simply by swapping them over.
The Shoe Bubble can also be fit into footwear that already has a factory insole inside, if it is the type that is removable. All you need to do is place the product underneath the insole and you're good to go. The sticky bottom side work really well to keep it in place. If it gets dirty, well that's not really a problem either. Just wash it off in the sink and let it dry. The adhesive side will return to it's original stickiness.
Compact yet effective design
Easy to change between different footwear
Also an ideal option for flat feet or even higher arches
Some expected the product to be a bit smaller
Icy Feet PF Relief
It also stays cold for a considerable amount of time and you can easily wear it around the house while completing other tasks or chores. As an added convenience bonus, the cleanup is very easy: simply rinse with mild detergent and lukewarm water, wipe dry, and put it back into the freezer until you are ready to use it again.
Also ideal for bone spurs, muscle strain, cramping and inflammation
Engineered insole design
Maintains continuous contact while worn
Easy to clean and reuse
One size fits all, might not be ideal for those with shoe sizes over US 12
It has proven to, over time, help strengthen the food arch which will provide healing and relief to those suffering from plantar fasciitis, but it can also be used to complement any other serious physical therapy the wearer is participating in to help them heal.
Incredibly easy to use
Still allows some mobility when in use
Proven to strengthen the arch, which helps in the treatment of plantar fasciitis
Effectively stops the plantar fascia from shortening
Difficult for some to sleep in
Moji 360 Foot Massager
6 balls that rotate 360 degrees
Designed to penetrate deep muscle tissue to help relieve pain and soreness
Slip resistant bottom
Also effective in reducing inflammation, decreasing cellulite and breaking up areas of scar tissue
Effectiveness is limited for some due to the small portable size
BRD Sport Ankle Plantar Fasciitis Brace
It can be conveniently worn under socks and fits into most shoes, including into the average pair of running shoes. It is important to note that the size of brace is NOT based on your shoe size. One needs to follow the measuring and sizing information of product in order to order correct size.
Effectively helps to Alleviate chronic pain brought on specifically by plantar fasciitis
Lightweight and Breathable
Also good at reducing swelling
A bit expensive
If you feel pain after wearing the toe stretchers for extended periods of time, it is best to segment the wear into many short treatment sessions over the course of the day or the week. The more frequent the use of the Toe Stretchers, the faster you will see results and experience relief from your Plantar Fasciitis.
Helps to straighten and strengthen toes
Additionally effective against bunions and other foot issues
Not a quick fix, like some expected
Gel Heel Seats
It is not painful necessarily, like other inserts might be for sufferers of plantar fasciitis, but it does feel like there is something small, similar to a Popsicle stick in size, inserted across the curve of your foot. However, it is highly effective in the treatment of plantar fasciitis.
These are specifically designed to treat this particular issue
Provides acupressure to the heel, which is therapeutic
Localizes support under the hot spot
Not ideal for those with high arches
Body Back Company Foot Roller Kit
Specifically designed to help relieve soreness in the feet
Good tools for both, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis
Kit includes both tools at a more than reasonable price
Some long term durability issues with the roller
Thera Cane Massager
Ideal tool for loosening knotted muscles by yourself
Unique design allows easy use without help
Includes detailed guide on how and where to use it
A bit hard for some people
Yamuna Body Rolling Foot Saver
They incorporate foot rescue circles and an instructional DVD. The DVD itself is easy to follow and provides great explanations for what movements to incorporate into your massage routine that are both beneficial to healing your plantar fasciitis and pleasant.
It is also a good idea to wear your socks high on your ankles if you choose to wear socks while using this product. If your socks are too loose on your foot and slip down your ankle or ball up around your heel, it is likely that you will slip on the ball and not be able to get adequate traction. If one uses it barefoot, they may have to be a little more patient with changing poses, as the rubber on the ball might stick to your feet, causing you to become unbalanced and potentially resulting in a nasty fall!
Helps with alignment issues of the lower body
Helpful in improving posture
Effectively increases strength in feet
Requires some balance
The advantage over towel munches is that you have a wider range of movement in your toe flexion. Using it alongside orthotics day after day is a handy solution to healing your plantar fasciitis pain. You will start to experience undeniable change and relief!
Ideal supplemental tool to help build more foot strength
Effective treatment for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs
Not enough resistance for some
Running, walking, biking, or just accomplishing your day to day activities can be excruciating if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, especially if you are working out or are super busy first thing in the morning. Dealing with sharp, intense pain in your feet is no way to live your life, and even worse, plantar fasciitis left untreated can possibly lead to other problems and ailments in your legs, knees, and hips.
There are a wide variety of treatment options for healing your plantar fascia, and the options contained in our list of Best Tools to Treat Plantar Fasciitis are great, cost-effective ways to start. Below you will find explanations of some of the criteria used to measure the products we included in our list, as well as other important factors to consider if you have plantar fasciitis and are purchasing a tool to help relieve pain, and general FAQ’s about this injury and treating it by yourself using store bought products. The bottom line? We want to help you heal your heels!
The Criteria We Used to Measure Which Tools Were Best for Treating Plantar Fasciitis
The method of treatment used, and its level of practicality
When it comes to treating plantar fasciitis, there are many different methods. From going under the knife to simple techniques you can easily incorporate into your day, you can find a wide range of options. But our list, in particular, focuses on those options you can practically do yourself while at home (or, in some cases, even when you are on the go at work, at school, or driving around town). The first method we focused on was the massaging and/or rolling method. In general, massage has several benefits for athletes and non-athletes alike. Not only does massage have a very calming, psychological effect that helps reduce overall stress and, decrease heart rate, and lower cortisol levels, but its physiological benefits have recently been promoted among many reputable sources.
Massage works to dilate blood vessels and increase the circulation of blood flow from the heart to the points and places being massaged. As a result, increased levels of oxygen can flow to these places, which means a greater amount of nutrients delivered there, and the quicker removal of waste products and toxins. Furthermore, increased oxygen to muscles means more relaxed muscles and greater circulation of lactic acid out of muscles and muscle tendons, to help relieve soreness.
Finally, and largely to the benefit of those suffering from plantar fasciitis, massage helps reduce inflammation. Because one pain triggering symptom of plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, reducing inflammation can help reduce pain. Massaging your aching feet will help conduct increased blood flow to the tendons and ligaments in your feet, including to the plantar fascia. The repeated massage movements will slowly start to stretch the plantar fascia, and that is a good thing! You want the arch of your foot to be loosened, so that it can properly serve its function of absorbing shock with each step you take. The method of rolling has similar effects on the plantar fascia and your feet as massage does.
The only real difference is the motions themselves that are associated with massage and with rolling are different (and self explanatory: massage typically involves deep kneading and pushing of the pressure points while rolling involves some spherical object that is literally rolled over the pressure point). The products on our list that feature the massage or rolling method include the Body Back Company Foot Roller and Porcupine Massage Ball, the Massager Thera Cane, the Foot Massager Moji 360, and the Yamuna Body Rolling Foot Saver Kit.
The second method of treatment we considered included those devices dedicated to stretching and strengthening the plantar fasciitis tendon. As an athlete, the benefits of regularly stretching are far reaching. Specifically, recent studies have shown that dynamic stretching is the best way to go because it uses active movements that mimic the movements used in the sport or exercise you are about to participate in to stretch the muscles. In this way, you warm up your cold muscles in a particular motion that you will be engaging in, which not only releases oxygen and increases blood flow to the muscles, but helps prepare you mentally for the movement you are about to do. (For example, dynamic stretches that involve kicking the air or kicking your butt will help runners warm up best, since the running stride is a combination of these two movements.
Dynamic stretching involves actively stretching muscles, as opposed to static stretching, which typically involves little to no movement of the body while stretching in place.) In the end, dynamic stretching allows you to perform at higher levels, faster and with more explosive movements. And over time with repeated use, you will begin to see a greater range of motion. In a similar way, stretching the plantar fascia tendon as well as neighboring muscles (i.e., the calf muscle) will help relieve pain because it is tight muscles that can cause plantar fasciitis in the first place. In order to perform its function of absorbing shock, the plantar fascia has to be loose, but strong.
If it is too taute, it will not be able to absorb shock in the same way. Similarly, the “toe scrunch” method of strengthening will help build up the plantar fascia’s strength, so that it can endure more shock (i.e. more intense and longer workouts, greater body weight, etc.) without becoming inflamed and causing heel pain. The stretching and strengthening tools on our list include the Elgin Archxerciser Foot Strengthening Device, the Strassburg Sock, and the YogaToes Toe Stretchers.
The third and final treatment we considered was stability and taking off the pressure placed on the plantar fascia by wearing a boot, special shoe, or brace. A walking boot will help reduce tension on the plantar fascia by allowing the boot or shoe itself to absorb the majority of the shock that the plantar fascia would typically be absorbing. This enables the plantar fascia time to rest and to heal, but wearers can still walk around, move freely, and participate in most day to day activities. (Plus, because you are wearing the device and it is moving around with you, it provides for continued support which will increase the time it takes to fully heal.) Depending on the severity of your pain, you could see results in as little as one to two weeks with regular use of a boot or brace. If your plantar fasciitis is a very severe case, increase the amount of support and stability to the plantar fascia by inserting an additional gel sole insert into the boot or brace to provide additional support to your foot arch. The products in our list that focus on providing stability and support to the plantar fascia to heal your plantar fasciitis are the Icy Feet ICEFP Plantar Fasciitis Relief, the BRD Sport Ankle Plantar Fasciitis Brace, the Gel Heel Seats, and any form of a night splint that you choose.
2. The level of effectiveness of the tool in treating your Plantar Fasciitis
There are a lot of options on the market today for healing your plantar fasciitis, but no matter how which option you choose, how much or how little you spend, and how “cool” the tool seems to be, it does no good if it does not actually work. It needs to be effective, and ease your aching plantar fascia, provide relief, and ultimately lead to a healed arch (with no or significantly reduced heel pain and inflammation). A temporary band aid (both figuratively and literally speaking) simply will not cut it. Plantar Fasciitis pain is serious and you need reliable relief. The tools on our list will actually help to heal your plantar fasciitis, often saving you from the cost, pain, recovery time, and overall inconvenience of opting for more intrusive methods like surgery, stem cell injections, or a Tenex procedure.
3. How much the tool will cost you
All of the tools on our list are relatively affordable and cost efficient options for relieving your plantar fasciitis pain and contribute to overall total healing. The tools on our list range from about ten dollars (i.e. the Thera Cane Massager) all the way up to seventy five dollars (the BRD Sport Ankle Plantar Fasciitis Brace). The differences in price are mainly because of what all the tool can do. For example, the massaging tools are certainly helpful but in terms of stability and helping you to heal while you go about your day, their effectiveness is limited.
But the tools on the higher end of the price spectrum, such as the ankle brace and the boot, will provide stability and support to your aching arches, and allow you to continue your day with minimal interference. Plus, they don’t take any effort on your part other than just putting them on (whereas a massager or a roller can take some discipline and might be uncomfortable or unpleasant.) While the price range of our tools might seem drastically large, when compared to other intense medical procedures to help heal your plantar fasciitis, the tools on our list will be a great solution if you just cannot take the pain of your plantar fasciitis anymore but are on a more limited budget.
4. Do you have plantar fasciitis or do you have heel spurs or flat feet?
Pain in your plantar fascia is obviously a tell tale sign of having plantar fasciitis. However, arch pain and heel pain, especially after exercises that include walking, jogging, or running, or prolonged periods of standing or sitting, may also be a symptom of having heel spurs or flat feet. So how do you know the difference? How do you distinguish between the three? A heel spur occurs when calcium builds up on the underside of the heel bone. This can happen for a myriad of reasons, including repeated strain on the foot muscles and ligaments and tearing of the membrane that covers the heel. Fortunately, heel spurs are often not painless but when they are, they may be an indicator of also having an inflamed plantar fascia. So if you have heel spurs and they are painful, then chances are you also have plantar fasciitis.
But you do not necessarily have to have heel spurs to have plantar fasciitis. Flat feet are similar in that people with flat feet often develop plantar fasciitis because flat feet tend to over pronate as they walk because the arch collapses as the foot rolls forward, which puts increased pressure and weight on the plantar fasciia. However, plantar fasciitis does not ALWAYS occur because of flat feet; in fact, people with high arches are also at an increased risk for developing plantar fasciitis. Therefore, both flat feet and heel spurs are often associated with leading to plantar fasciitis, but not everyone who has plantar fasciitis has either heel spurs or flat feet.
5. How bad or intense your plantar fasciitis is
Scaling the pain of your plantar fasciitis will help clarify how serious your case of plantar fasciitis is. Fortunately, most of the people suffering from plantar fasciitis recover with rest, stretching, and the proper amount of arch supports. In those instances, patients will find relief by purchasing and using one of the tools on our list. However, severe cases of plantar fasciitis can be all but totally debilitating and greatly impact your fitness and overall health. In these cases, patients most likely have chronic plantar fasciitis that won’t easily go away without serious treatments that often require special medical attention and procedures.
6. How much time you have to dedicate to recovery
Although all the products on our list will help your plantar fasciitis heal, some methods require more discipline and time before you will actually start to see results and experience relief. You should ask yourself how much time you have and are willing to dedicate to fully recovering before you purchase a tool. For example, most massagers and rollers are a great option because they are typically on the lower end of the price spectrum and they have multiple uses aside from aiding in plantar fasciitis. Yet, because you can’t spend all day massaging your feet and easily incorporate it into your lifestyle while you are doing other activities (like you could by wearing a brace or splint). Therefore, massaging and rolling methods might take longer to fully heal your plantar fasciitis than wearing a brace or splint that provides constant arch support and tension relief.
7. Your pain threshold
There is no denying that plantar fasciitis itself is painful. However, some of the methods for treating it have been known to be a bit uncomfortable as well. For instance, ice baths are widely promoted to aid in recovery after tough workouts, and even to help heal plantar fasciitis because they reduce the inflammation that is commonly associated with it. But if you have every completely submerged yourself into an ice bath, you know that it can be borderline excruciating (though extremely effective).
Massaging, rolling, and stretching can not only take serious self discipline on the part of the patient, but if you have really tight muscles or a very serious case of plantar fasciitis, then these methods might be painful for you. If you typically have a low pain tolerance, then you might be better suited to purchase a splint or brace that “does the work for you” by providing support and relief without much effort on your part.
8. What kind of shoes do you typically wear on a daily basis
If you work a job or lead a lifestyle in which supportive, close toed shoes are warranted and acceptable, then you are fortunate enough to help speed up recovery simply by wearing your typical attire. Shoes that have thick and padded soles and offer feet support and protection are the best bet for seeing the fastest and quickest results when you are actively using one of the tools on this list to help heal your plantar fasciitis. However, if you are a working woman who wears heels to work or just throughout your day, then you have reason to be extra cautious.
The problem with high heels is that the distribute your weight unevenly so that your arch is forced into an unnatural, uncomfortable position that strains it and puts you at a higher risk for tearing the plantar fasciia and causing inflammation. And, in general, high heels typically don’t offer the most supportive soles. However, if you ARE wearing high heels on a regular basis, it is suggested that you switch over to flats only gradually. If you quit wearing high heels too abruptly and make the switch to flats all at once, your arch (which is already weakened from regular high heel usage) might not be strong enough to absorb all the shock it would be exposed to in flat shoes. Try instead gradually decreasing the height of your shoe over the course of several weeks.
Q. What exactly IS Plantar Fasciitis?
To answer that, we must first answer the question of, ‘what is the plantar fascia?’ The plantar fascia is the flat ligament that runs alongside the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes, supporting your arch. Its main job is to help absorb the shock of your foot hitting the ground as you walk, jog, or run. Plantar fasciitis, then, is when this ligament becomes inflamed, swollen, and tender due to a strain or tear. When the plantar fascia is inflamed, it cannot properly absorb the shock of your gait, and can be very painful when you try to walk, jog, or run.
Q. What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciits?
The most common symptom or sign of having plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot while walking or running, or first thing in the morning upon waking up. It is usually not a dull pain, but rather, very sharp and leave your whole foot feeling stiff. It is important to note that if you are experiencing intense foot pain in the evenings or at night, it is likely NOT plantar fasciitis but perhaps arthritis or some form of nerve problem.
Q. What are the best methods for treating plantar fasciitis?
Obviously, any of the tools and methods presented on our list are terrific at home options for helping cure your ailing plantar fasciitis. For cheap, easy, and convenient treatment methods, opt for massaging, rolling, stretching, icing, and stabilizing your plantar fascia. However, if these do not work and you are interested in looking into more serious medical treatments, the most common for plantar fasciitis are a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection, stem cell injections, a Tenex procedure, and shockwave therapy. Both PRP and stem cell injections are non surgical methods but differ in that PRP injections involve using the patient’s own blood and stem cell injections use stem sells as well as platelets.
In PRP injections, the platelets in the patient’s blood are separated and then re-injected back into the plantar fascia, which naturally promotes growth and healing. For stem cell therapy, stem cells form bone marrow or fat tissues are used alongside the patient’s platelets to produce cartilage and promote healing. The Tenex Procedure is used commonly to help heal soft tissue injuries, such as plantar fasciitis, by breaking down accumulated scar tissue. A small tool is inserted into the injured ligament and ultrasonic energy targets scar tissue and breaks it down.
This procedure is also minimally invasive, and quick (usually not longer than fifteen minutes). Finally, shockwave therapy is used in patients with a history of chronic ligament pain. It uses low- energy and high – energy forms of shockwaves to cause “microtrauma” to the injured ligament, stimulating a natural healing response. Low- energy shockwave procedures usually take a few rounds of therapy but are virtually painless, while higher energy shockwave procedures occur during one treatment session and can be quite painful.
Q. Who is most at risk for plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is most commonly found among runners and athletes who incorporate running or jogging long distances into their sport. However, it is also commonly found in people who are overweight or obese, as an excessive amount of weight puts an unnecessary strain on the ligaments. Others at risk for plantar fasciitis include those who often wear shoes without adequate support, especially individuals who regularly sit or stand for prolonged periods at a time.
Q. How do you get plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis may occur any time you have overly strained or torn the plantar fasciia ligament. This is common among runners and athletes who have over trained without enough rest. Their plantar fascia has become inflamed because of such persistent use and has begun to lose its ability to adequately absorb shock. Yet, it is not just running or movement that will tear or strain the ligament. Disproportionately administered weight will strain the ligament awkwardly. Therefore, if you are overweight, obese, or wear high heels often, be careful of developing plantar fasciitis.
Q. When is plantar fasciitis most commonly experienced?
Most patients feel the worse pain of the day from their plantar fasciitis first thing in the morning when they wake up. Those first few steps once your feet hit the floor can be exceptionally excruciating. It might seem ironic, but pain from plantar fasciitis actually isn’t experienced as badly DURING exercise as it is after the workout has been completed. Walking up steps in particular can exacerbate the pain, as can longer periods of standing and sitting.
Q. Can plantar fasciitis come back after it is has already fully healed?
Yes. This is especially true if you choose to treat the symptoms instead of actually treating the root cause of your plantar fasciitis. (For example, your plantar fasciitis might actually be because of another foot condition which, left unattended to, will just continue to worsen over time.) It is always best to see a doctor and have them determine what exactly is causing your foot pain, so that you can best pin point the method of treatment that will heal your feet fastest and the most effectively.
Here are a few of our sources
- Plantar Fasciitis Massage, Sports Injury How To Page, ,
- Benefits of Massage For Athletes, Health and Fitness Magazine Article, Feb 01, 2013 ,
- Massage Therapy for Tired Feet (and Plantar Fasciitis!), Sports Injury Pain Online Article, Oct 25, 2012 ,
- Plantar Fasciitis Stretches to Soothe Heel Pain, Health and Fitness Article, Aug 16, 2016 ,
- Dynamic Stretching Explained, Stretching Website Article, ,
- Guide to Best Walking Boots for Foot and Ankle Injuries, Foot and Ankle Center of Washington Health Article, ,
- Heel Spurs, Health Article, ,
- Do High Heels Cause Plantar Fasciitis?, Medical Health Article, Nov 07, 2016 ,
- Popular FAQs About Plantar Fasciitis and Plantar Fasciitis Treatment, Informational Health Webpage Article, Aug 14, 2017 ,
- What is the difference between stem cell therapy and PRP injections?, Southwest Spine and Pain Center Blog Article, Jun 13, 2014 ,
- Tenex Health TX Procedure for Elbow, Knee and Shoulder Tendinitis, Informational Sports Injury Web Page, Aug 14, 2017 ,
- Shock Wave Therapy for Tendonitis and Plantar Fasciitis: Can Shock Waves Be An Effective Treatment for Pain?, Health and Wellness Web Page Article, May 05, 2016 ,