If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, it is highly possible you have given each treatment solution out there a try. However, many people fail to take into consideration how useful foot rollers actually are, when it comes to relieving the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis.
In this article, we will discuss about how foot rollers can improve the symptomatology of this inflammatory condition. We will also present the different types of foot rollers, what are the features you should be on the lookout for and other useful information.
How can foot rollers help in case of plantar fasciitis?
Foot rollers can be used to perform a gentle massage of the foot, in order to generate temporary relief from heel pain. Acting on trigger points, they can also reduce the inflammation of the plantar fascia and release tight muscles in an effective manner. Foot rollers can stimulate the blood and lymph circulation at the level of the foot, promoting a faster and more efficient recovery from plantar fasciitis.
Used on a regular basis, foot rollers can reduce the stress on the plantar fascia and relieve the tension accumulated in the muscles of the lower leg. They can be used to stretch these muscles, preventing them from becoming permanently shortened. Upon using foot rollers, many people declare that they have experienced better flexibility and less pain.
It is important to point out that foot rollers can also be used to stretch the big toe, which is commonly contracted in people who suffer from plantar fasciitis. All you have to do is place the big toe on the foot roller, the rest of the foot resting on the ground. Make sure that you apply pressure on the roller, so that you stretch not only your big toe but also the bottom of the foot. The stretch should be maintained for about 15 seconds, with repetitions of 3 sets. Repeat the process 3 times per day, in order to obtain the best results.
Features to be on the lookout for
Foot rollers are generally made from supple, natural rubber, in order to be slip resistant and ensure a safe usage, without scratching the floor. Being made from rubber, they are also easy to clean. As you will have the opportunity to discover, most foot rollers have a ridged design; this allows them to act on the trigger points at the level of the foot and deliver a highly-efficient foot massage. It is because of this ridged design that they are able to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation. There are foot rollers that have a hollow core, matching the contour of the foot and guaranteeing a custom feel.
Silicone foot rollers are an excellent choice as well, as they are easy to clean and use. They have a unique design, borrowing elements from ancient acupressure techniques. The contour stretch is unique, allowing for the soft tissues of the foot (plantar fascia included) to be stretched in an efficient manner. You can also find and purchase wooden foot rollers; these will provide a more intense level of pressure but they may require a longer period of accommodation.
The foot rollers that are made from silicone or rubber provide a lighter pressure than the ones that are made from wood. They are not as harsh, which makes them a better choice for those who are just beginning to use them. You might also discover that wooden foot rollers are more likely to slip, depending on the surface on which they are actually used. Silicone/rubber foot rollers, on the other hand, do not slip, regardless of the chosen surface.
Some foot rollers can be chilled or frozen before use, acting as a highly efficient form of cold therapy. Upon using them chilled/frozen, they do a better job, reducing inflammation and relieving pain in an effective manner. Cold therapy is often recommended in case of inflammation, which is a common occurrence in patients who suffer from plantar fasciitis. By rolling the foot on the roller, back and forth, from the heel to the arch, you will reduce the inflammation throughout the entire plantar fascia.
When shopping for foot rollers, it is essential to find and select one that has an ergonomic shape, so that it can contour the arch of the foot and provide the intended results. At the same time, you should seek out one that has a textured surface, in order to take advantage of the kneading properties.
As already mentioned, there are foot rollers that can be chilled or frozen, allowing you to benefit from the healthy properties of cold therapy. You should know that there are foot rollers that can be placed in hot water as well, maintaining their temperature for about 20 minutes. These can provide added relief as well; warmth can stimulate blood circulation, speeding recovery and healing.
How are foot rollers actually used?
The main idea about foot rollers is that they should be used to create pressure on the bottom of the foot. The pressure should be gentle at first, being built over time. You should not perform an aggressive massage using these foot rollers, as you might risk making the symptoms worse and not better. The great advantage of foot rollers is that they can be used anywhere and anytime, whether you are at home, at work or even traveling. They are lightweight and easy to carry around, fitting quite nicely in travel bags.
The foot roller is used on the bottom of the foot, working on trigger points. These are experienced as tight and tender knots in the foot. Upon working on these with foot rollers, you will most likely experience tenderness and even pain. It is important not to stop and actually roll for about 15 to 20 seconds. Take your time to move in a slow and gradual manner, being as gentle as you possibly can. It is recommended to try out back-and-forth movements, as these are the most efficient.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis can be successfully kept under control with the help of foot rollers. The foot massage requires only a couple of minutes of your time but it is totally worth it. In general, it is recommended to use the foot rollers at least three times per day: in the morning, right after you have woken up; at noon, to relieve the accumulated pain and at night, right before going to bed. If your symptoms are constantly bothering you, you can use it even more often. Always use the foot roller only for short and gentle sessions, in order to avoid exacerbating the symptoms. Allow yourself to progress in accordance to the way you are feeling and also depending on the number of painful trigger points.
Who should not use foot rollers?
Unfortunately, not all people who suffer from plantar fasciitis can use foot rollers. There are pre-existing conditions that you should take into consideration, such as diabetes and circulatory disorders. In general, it is for the best to talk to your doctor and discuss about the usage of foot rollers for your own individual case. It is also advisable to refrain from using foot rollers on broken skin.
Practical advice to consider
In order to keep the risk of infection down to a minimum, it is recommended to clean your foot roller using disinfectant spray. The foot rollers can be used with socks but, for the best results, it is indicated to use them barefooted (they may seem uncomfortable and ticklish at first but, with the passing of time, you will become accustomed to the sensation). The pressure applied to the foot should be firm but not too intense, as you do not want to generate even more pain.
Final word of advice
Plantar fasciitis is a serious condition and it should be treated as such. It can cause severe pain at the level of the heel, preventing the patient from engaging in regular daily living activities. Medical specialists recommend a wide range of treatments and therapies, including orthotic inserts, night splints and corticosteroid shots.
When it comes to conservative treatments, foot rollers are among the most efficient solutions available. They are easy to use, providing relief from the pain and inflammation, improving the level of functioning for each and every patient suffering from plantar fasciitis. They have an ergonomic shape, contouring the arch of the foot and, often times, a textured surface, with a guaranteed kneading effect.
Modern-generation foot rollers can be chilled, frozen or placed in hot water, being able to maintain their temperature for about 20 minutes. They provide added benefits, either through the cold or hot therapy. At the same time, they are small and lightweight, being easy to carry around, no matter where you decide to go. Foot rollers can help you stretch the plantar fascia and also the muscles of the lower leg, improving the experienced symptomatology quite significantly. The gentle massage they provide requires only a couple of minutes of your times, providing immense benefits in return.
Amy is a foot massage therapist that has worked with doctors specializing in podiatry while helping numerous clients through various foot conditions. She has reviewed 100s of related foot health products for plantar fasciitis, toenail fungus and more.