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How to Manage Plantar Fasciitis Pain Without Drugs

You could get relief from plantar fasciitis pain with physical therapy, orthotics or even home remedies. Will one of these get you moving again?
How to Manage Plantar Fasciitis Pain Without Drugs
Woman massage with tennis ball to her foot in bedroom,Feet soles massage for plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis pain, which frequently appears as pain in the heel, can really interfere with your activity. Running, tennis, dancing or even walking may be excruciating. Doctors may prescribe pain relievers or anti-inflammatory corticosteroid shots. However, researchers have not found that one treatment stands out above the others. Often, people may get good relief from physical therapy. Others find home remedies helpful.

Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis Pain:

Q. My doctor recommended naproxen for my plantar fasciitis pain. It gave me chest pain and irregular heart rhythms, so I stopped taking it. I do have high blood pressure, so I should avoid medicines that raise blood pressure. What else can I take to relieve the pain? I don’t want to schedule an appointment with my podiatrist until the pandemic is over.

Managing Plantar Fasciitis:

Orthotics:

A. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toe. Orthotics that fit in your shoes can often alleviate plantar fasciitis. Although the podiatrist can customize a pair, generic orthotics can also be helpful. You should be able to purchase these at the pharmacy or online. They may tide you over until you can see your podiatrist in person. 

Stretches:

Stretches may also help reduce plantar fasciitis pain. Calf stretches before bedtime may be helpful. We have found that stretching the toes toward the knee before rising, either against the footboard or with the help of a partner, can ease the pain of the first several steps out of bed.

Drug Drawbacks:

You are correct that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen or ibuprofen can increase blood pressure. As a result, people taking such medicines may suffer heart attacks or strokes (American Journal of Medicine, Dec. 2017). Even though naproxen and ibuprofen are available over the counter, neither would be our first choice to treat chronic pain like that of plantar fasciitis.

Home Remedies:

Natural anti-inflammatory approaches include fish oil and tart cherry juice. We have included details about these and other options in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. If you can’t find it in your local public library, you can get a copy here. You may also wish to listen to our interview with Dr. Jane Andersen, podiatrist. It is Show 1183: How to Manage Your Foot Problems.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Citations
  • Solomon DH et al, "The risk of major NSAID toxicity with celecoxib, ibuprofen, or naproxen: A secondary analysis of the PRECISION trial." American Journal of Medicine, Dec. 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2017.06.028
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