7 Fact or Fiction Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis

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By Russel Rubin, Principal Podiatrist

Picking Up Marbles With Your Toes

It makes sense that strengthening your feet might help reduce and prevent foot pain, but here’s an exercise you may not have heard of: picking up small marbles with your toes!

How it works: Sit in a chair with your feet out in front of you. Scatter marbles on the floor by your feet, and place a water glass a few inches in front. Pick up the marbles with your toes, and place them in the glass.

What it’s supposed to do: This exercise strengthens the muscles of your feet, creating better stabilization of the plantar fascia ligament, and improving your gait.

Covering Your Feet With Cabbage

It’s no joke – some people recommend the topical use of cabbage to reduce heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis.

How it works: Soften a few cabbage leaves (preferably red) over a low flame so that they do not break as you form them to your feet. Secure the leaves into place with gauze or a bandage, and allow it to sit overnight. Some people recommend pouring honey on the cabbage leaves before fastening them.

What it’s supposed to do: Cabbage contains a pigment called anthocyanin, which may help to reduce joint pain and inflammation. 

Soaking Your Feet in Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a common home remedy for a wide variety of ailments – including plantar fasciitis.

How it works: Mix one cup of apple cider vinegar and 6 cups of warm water in a tub or container. Submerge aching feet and soak for 30 minutes.

What it’s supposed to do: Apple cider vinegar is rich in minerals and nutrients, including magnesium which can be absorbed through the skin.

Rubbing Mustard Oil on Your Feet

Massage is often recommended to temporarily relieve plantar fasciitis pain, but some people claim that using warm mustard oil makes your massage even more effective.

How it works: Warm a teaspoon of mustard oil my microwaving for a few seconds, and massage it into the sole and heel of your foot in a circular motion.

What it’s supposed to do: By doing a warm mustard oil massage you will help the muscles of your feet relax and bring blood flow to the area. Like apple cider vinegar, mustard oil has magnesium, and it is also said to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Using Aloe Vera Topically or Internally

Aloe vera seems to be growing in popularity as a cure-all and superfood (or super drink in some cases). Research seems to support some of it’s benefits, including its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, and benefits to the skin.

How it works: Aloe vera can be consumed or massaged into the skin topically.

What it’s supposed to do: Aloe vera contains mucopolysaccharides, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Herbal Treatments

Herbal treatments are widely used, so it is no surprise that its believed these can also cure or alleviate symptoms of Plantar fasciitis. Turmeric, Horsetail, Feverfew, Willow, Ginger, Bromelain, Green tea, Calendula, Meadowsweet, Arnica, Chamomile and Tea Tree.

How it works: A variety of herbs taken either internally or externally.

What it’s supposed to do:   Reduce inflammation and swelling, and  alleviate pain.

Putting an onion in your sock overnight.

Yes, you read that right. Putting an onion in your sock overnight apparently helps lessen the pain of Plantar fasciitis.

How it works: Sleeping with an onion in your sock overnight.

What it’s supposed to do: Who knows? Maybe the compression of the socks overnight helps with the pain, but it could be the onion.

Will any of these wacky home treatments magically cure your plantar fasciitis? Probably not – but if you have struggled to find a solution that works, they may be worth a shot!

Shoulder Pain – Who and What are the Rotator Cuff?

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Most people will have only heard of the rotator cuff when they were told they have a rotator cuff strain or tear.  Rotator cuff injuries occur more often in people who provide repetitive overhead movements for example, swimmers, painters and tennis players.

But what does the Rotator cuff mean? Where is it and what does it do?

As a whole the rotator cuff is made up of 4 muscles and tendons that help provide strength and stability to the shoulder during movement. These muscles are located around the shoulder blade and form a cuff around the shoulder joint and attach onto the top of the long arm bone.

Each muscle is used in a variety of upper limb movements including reaching, tucking a shirt in behind and raising the arm to the side. They are pivotal to almost every movement of the shoulder joint. A balance of muscle strength and muscle flexibility is essential to the normal functioning of the shoulder and the entire shoulder girdle.

The 4 Rotator Cuff Muscles

  1. Supraspinatus
  2. Infraspinatus
  3. Subscapularis
  4. Teres Minor

As the shoulder joint has poor bony stability (hence why it is so mobile), it means our muscles are more vulnerable to injury.

Common injuries include:

  • Tendonopathy – this is often caused by a number of different mechanisms but perhaps the most common is due to an increase in the load and force on the tendon. Other factors such as anatomical varients of the shoulder blade, muscle shortening or altered shoulder / scapula mechanics which all place more load on the cuff tendons and increase the risk of tendonopathy.
  • Tear – These can either occur as a result of worsening tendonopathy (degeneration) or as a result of more significant trauma e.g following a fall, fracture or shoulder dislocation.


Most diagnoses can be established from clinical history and examination. By observing shoulder movements and testing the individual muscles of a shoulder – Physiotherapists and Doctors can confirm rotator cuff injury. Occasionally an XR maybe required to look at the anatomy of the shoulder. When there is a more severe injury, or a number of muscles / tendons injured then the most effective scan is an MRI.

Treatment Options

The good news is that the majority of rotator cuff injuries can be successfully treated conservatively / non-operatively with Physiotherapy.

Normalising the shoulder mechanics by correcting muscle imbalances and control accompanied with activity modification will provide the biggest amount of relief.

This alongside anti-inflammatory medications, ice and taping can all facilitate recovery from these injuries.

If you have been experiencing shoulder pain during your gym workouts or have been noticing a painful shoulder at night time, get it checked out. Often some simple corrective exercises can keep you working at your best without causing further injury.