Treating the first symptoms of
plantar fasciitis with rest and ice can help prevent
your heel pain from becoming long-lasting (chronic). This treatment is less
successful after the problem has become chronic.
Ice your heel
when you have pain, to control the inflammation associated with overactivity or
high stress on the plantar fascia. There are a number of ways to do this. Your
doctor may have suggestions on what works best.
If you look at an adult foot from the inside, you'll usually notice an upward curve in the middle. This is called an arch. Tendons -- tight bands that attach at the heel and foot bones -- form the arch. Several tendons in your foot and lower leg work together to form the arches in your foot.
When the tendons all pull the proper amount, then your foot forms a moderate, normal arch. When tendons do not pull together properly, there is little or no arch. This is called flat foot or fallen arch.
Ice massage. You can use
an ice cube, but it's easier to use an "ice cup" for ice massage.
To make an ice cup, fill a small paper or foam cup about
two-thirds full, and freeze it until it is solid.
use the ice cup, peel off the top of the cup so about
0.5 in. (1.3 cm) of ice is
showing. The remaining part of the cup is for you to hold on
Rub the ice in small circles all over the painful area. As the
ice melts, it will drip, so put a small towel under the area you are
If the ice melts down so the cup is touching your skin, peel
more of the cup off.
Continue for about 7 to 10 minutes. The area
will feel cold at first, then it may burn, then ache, then finally become
numb. Your skin will be pink and cold when you
You can do an ice massage several times a day if it helps
Cold or ice packs. There are several types
of ice packs. Use them for about 10 to 20 minutes, then put them back in the
freezer to refreeze for the next use.
Ice towel. Wet a towel with cold water and squeeze it until it
is just damp. Fold the towel, place it in a plastic bag, and freeze it for 15
minutes. Remove the towel from the bag and place it on the injured or sore
Ice pack. Put about
1 lb (0.5 kg) of ice in a
plastic bag or ice pack you buy at the store. Add enough water to barely cover
the ice. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it. Wrap the bag in a wet
towel and apply to the affected area.
Cold packs. Bags of frozen
peas or corn are inexpensive, last 10 to 20 minutes, and mold well to your
body. Mark them with "do not eat" and you can reuse them several times as cold
packs. You can also seal a mixture of 3 cups (750 mL) water and 1 cup (250 mL)
rubbing alcohol in a freezer bag and freeze it until a slush forms. Refreeze
the bag when the slush melts. Or you can buy cold packs to keep in your
freezer. These can be reused many times.
Ice bath. You also can soak
your foot in ice water for up to about 20 minutes, adding more ice cubes as
others melt. You can repeat icing 4 to 6 times a day, particularly after any
activity that causes pain or any exercise that you are doing instead of
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Barry L. Scurran, DPM - Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery
July 13, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
July 13, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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