Plantar fasciitis is probably the most common cause of pain under the heel. As part of our Plantar fasciitis rehabilitation program we encourage the use of support taping, plantar night socks/splints, cold therapy, foot massage rollers and in particular, arch support insoles where appropriate.
It is unlikely any single product is a magic cure for heel pain, but when used as part of a full treatment and exercise routine they can be highly effective. Here are my top six products for treating Plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis sock/night splint
The Plantar fasciitis sock is worn overnight. It helps prevent your plantar fascia (foot arch) from tightening up whilst you sleep. This happens naturally when in bed. However, if your fascia tightens up or shortens then when you begin to walk in the morning it pulls at the attachment to the heel. Repetitive strain leads to inflammation and eventually degeneration of the fascia.
A Plantar fasciitis sock or night splint gently prevents your foot arch from tightening. Over time it naturally lengthens, reducing strain on your heel.
Plantar fasciitis night splint vs Sock
Having sold and used both myself, I find both to be highly effective. I prefer a sock these days because it is easier to put on and more comfortable to wear in bed.
Something to be aware of though is if you put either on too tight, then you find yourself waking up in discomfort because your foot arch has tightened. If this is the case then remove the Plantar fasciitis sock and try again the following night but loosen it a little. You should find that within a few days, you can comfortably wear it for most of the night, by which time your Plantar fasciitis heel pain has significantly reduced or gone.
Cold therapy for Plantar fasciitis
If you are in pain then applying cold therapy to your heel and under the arch of the foot is essential. It one of the most effective and fastest ways to reduce pain and inflammation. Apply cold therapy every couple of hours for approximately 10 minutes until your symptoms reduce.
I recommend cold therapy gel packs which your store in the freezer. To use, place under your heel whilst sitting. Or, even better combine it with an elastic compression wrap to help keep it in place. Then simply put your feet up for 10 minutes and allow the cold therapy to work. Apply at least 3 times per day but every 2 hours if possible.
Foot roller balls
Foot massage forms an important part of Plantar fasciitis treatment. It releases tension and helps stretch your Plantar fascia. Simply roll them under your foot for 5 to 10 minutes to achieve a massage and stretching effect. Combine it with stretching exercises and massage for maximum effect.
A common contributing factor for Plantar fasciitis is overpronation. This is when your foot rolls in or flattens. As a result, your foot arch is repeatedly overstretched. Eventually, inflammation or degeneration of the fascia occurs at the attachment to the heel.
Arch support or ‘Orthotic’ type insoles work by controlling the position of your heel, therefore, preventing overpronation. As a result, pain and inflammation are reduced, allowing your foot to heal and in particular, help prevent future injury.
Zinc oxide tape
A simple roll of 1-inch non-stretch zinc oxide tape can instantly relieve symptoms. A plantar fasciitis taping technique supports the arch of your foot allowing it to rest and recover.
We recommend the highest quality or 1-inch zinc oxide tape. This sticks for longer on your foot and lasts longer because it doesn’t stretch as much.
There are a number of good products which effectively treat Plantar fasciitis. However, it is important you actually use them, and as part of a daily treatment and exercise program.
Check out our full Plantar fasciitis treatment and rehabilitation program created by elite professional sports physiotherapist Phil Pask.