7 Fact or Fiction Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis

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!