Plantar fasciitis causes sharp heel and foot pain along with swelling and inflammation of the fascia; the thick band of tissue running along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. Using ice or heat for plantar fasciitis is among one of the most common methods for treating these painful symptoms. It’s affordable, effective and easy to do. Here are the best ways to find relief using cold and hot therapy techniques.
Cold therapy for the treatment of plantar fasciitis causes the blood vessels beneath your skin to constrict, reducing blood flow. This is called vasoconstriction, which reduces swelling and decreases pain by numbing the nerves in the area. However, you do need to be careful because cold can cause muscles to tighten and spasm. Here you’ll find out exactly how to use cold therapy to manage your plantar fasciitis symptoms.
To start, you’ll want to use ice in combination with rest, compression and elevation. This will help to reduce the initial swelling and relieve heel pain. Follow these tips for best results:
If you want to skip the ice, you can try using topical gels that provide cool relief. These formulas target pain the same way as cold packs and help to reduce inflammation. Apply throughout the day as needed!
Massage helps to stretch out and loosen the plantar fascia ligaments making the tendons less susceptible to injury and inflammation. Combining the benefits of cold therapy with massage and stretching exercisescan facilitate recovery and help to further relieve, or even prevent painful plantar fasciitis symptoms. Best part is, it’s as simple as using a frozen water bottle. Here’s how:
If you’re ready to get to sleep and you don’t have time to do contrast therapy at night, only use ice for your foot pain. To really help your pain, also take an Advil (ibuprofen) which acts as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Initially, your short term focus should be on reducing swelling and pain with ice.
If you’ve gone on a long run or had hard workout icing your foot should be your first move.
Another technique for treating plantar fasciitis is using heat therapy. Heat dilates blood vessels bringing more blood to the affected area. Heat should be used sparingly with plantar fasciitis because it can cause increased swelling. Read on to learn our recommendations for how to safely get the most out of heat therapy.
Heating pads are an excellent way to provide heat therapy with an adjustable and consistent temperature. Wrap the heating pad around the foot making sure the arch and heel are fully covered. Some heating pads come with a moisture sheet, letting you choose between dry or moist heat therapy.
A hot bath for your feet is a great way to both relax and give your feet the attention they deserve. Fill a small bucket or bin with warm water. You want the water to be hot enough to penetrate deep into your tissues, but not so hot it will burn the skin. Soak your feet until the water starts to cool down.
A foot massage will produce friction, which creates warmth. This is a good way to help stretch the muscles and loosen the fascia surrounding the muscles in your feet. Plantar fasciitis pain is commonly felt in the morning after the muscles haven’t been stretched or used all night long. Try to massage your feet before you get out of bed with a foot massage ball or tennis ball to prevent that morning pain.
Using a heated massage combines two of the most well-known treatments of plantar fasciitis pain. You can use heat rubs or a massage ball that has been warmed in a microwave. Apply pressure along the bottom of your foot starting at your toes and roll back and forth down to your heel. The massage will break up scar tissue, loosen muscles, and release toxins. Over time with heated massage you should find that you’ll have less plantar fasciitis pain.
Ultimately the answer is, very sparingly. Ideally, heat should be used in conjunction with ice. Heat will bring more blood to your foot, helping to increase healing. But, heat alone will cause more pain and swelling.
Cold and heat can have positive effects on your plantar fasciitis. Alternating cold and heat therapy is called contrast therapy and can be a great, at-home treatment.
To start with contrast therapy, you’ll need to decide if you will use ice packs and a heating pad or submerge your feet in cold and hot water. Once you’ve picked your method you can begin treating your aching feet. Follow these standard procedures:
If you find that your pain moves up your Achilles tendon, calf muscle, does not get better, or becomes worse you should talk to your doctor, podiatrist, or physical therapist. They will be able to help you determine the exact cause of your pain and develop an individualized plan.
If you have the time to devote to using both ice and heat you might be able to more effectively treat chronic plantar fasciitis.
Once you’ve iced your foot for a few days after the start of plantar fasciitis pain you can move onto using both ice and heat. The combination provides both pain relief and increased blood flow.
Cold and heat therapy for plantar fasciitis can treat some of the worst symptoms. When used properly in conjunction with other treatments like orthotics, night splints, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and arch support you may find even better symptom relief. However, based on the simplicity and price, cold and heat therapy is an easy place to begin your plantar fasciitis treatment. If your plantar fasciitis pain continues or worsens, we recommend that you seek help from a medical professional.
Sources:SHOP PLANTAR FASCIITIS PRODUCTS
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