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How to fix plantar fasciitis

If you struggle with that dreadful foot pain known as plantar fasciitis to the point that it’s effecting your day to day walking life, I hear ya!

I had plantar fasciitis in both feet – worse in my right foot – and it lasted almost two years. I would get up first thing in the morning (or in the night) and hobble to the loo, clutching at the dressing table or the walls whispering ow, ow, ow.

This is not actually a travel post, but I do know that when I travel I walk way more steps than in my every day life, so you could say that fixing plantar fasciitis is very important for travelling! And getting some good shoes or inserts is super important too.

In this post I’m going to share with you some things I did that really helped to deal with that heel pain in the mornings and how ultimately my plantar went away.

And I have found a video from two highly regarded physical therapists who show you how to massage and stretch the foot – at the end of this post.

Splay foot massage for plantar fasciitis
This is the splay massage which is great for plantar fasciitis

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Let’s start with what causes this horrid foot pain, especially felt in the mornings when you get out of bed or after you’ve been resting a few hours.

It’s all about the natural shape of your foot. People tend to have high, low or flat arches and plantar fasciitis effects those of us with high arches. After years of walking in flat shoes, flip flops or bare feet (the worst!) or in any footwear without arch support, the pressure on our arches that runs along from the heel to the big toe causes it to collapse.

Wet footprints to determine his arches
What does your wet foot print look like?

Carrying extra weight doesn’t help, but honestly it’s just years of not supporting this delicate, yet crucial, part of the foot.

The good news is plantar fasciitis is curable – yay! The bad news is it could take a while, even a year or more. But I’m going to show you some tips to help speed the healing process up.

Inserts for plantar fasciitis

While treating the pain, you also need to make sure it never comes back again.

Firstly you need to get some inserts or orthotics and put them in all your shoes. Or change them out from shoe to shoe as you wear them.

I went to a podiatrist who got an expensive orthotic insert and cut the big toe out after getting down on the floor and watching how I was walking. I put them in my winter boots (I was glad it was winter as orthotics in winter shoes are much easier than adding an ugly insert to a pair of sandals in summer!).

Then I went to the chemist and bought a few more pairs. I found just the half ones with the sturdy instep support were helpful. I also stopped wearing my cute little flats and bought some expensive Ziera jandals (flip flops) with arch support. (They don’t make them any more :()

Now that my plantar is healed, I still don’t want to risk it flaring up so I have added these 3D cushioned insoles into three pairs of my favourite boots.

I love these inserts so much I reviewed them here and have now launched my own range called Sole Purpose and sell them NZ-wide in my Travel Store.

Sole Purpose insoles
I have these insoles in all my shoes now!
Sole Purpose review

Plantar foot massage

Personally the bulk of my pain was where the tendons on my heel connected. It took me a few months before I realised the benefit of massaging my feet, and to be honest it was quite painful! But in a macabre kind of way I figured out the exact technique that hit the pain in the sweet spot.

I would use my thumb knuckle and work it into the spot while sitting with one foot crossed up on my lap. So sore, yet so satisfying!

Foot massage for plantar fasciitis
Massage the pain like this or with your knuckles

I also kept a golf ball in the freezer and used it to stand on and roll under my arch. The ice is good for inflammation. The funny thing is we just found it in the freezer last weekend – about two years after I last used it!

You’ll see on the video below the doctors demonstrate splayed massage by pressing your two thumbs under the arch of your foot and slowly moving them from the middle of your foot to the outer edges.

Plantar fasciitis stretches

There are a few good stretches you’ll see in the video below, but this one is easy and you should do it before you get out of bed in the morning and during the day as much as possible.

Push up all the toes, not just the big toe and hold it like this for 30 seconds or so.

Plantar fasciitis foot stretch
You can even do this with shoes on during the day

These physio’s in the video below, Bob and Brad, have a couple of million followers on Youtube and show us exactly how to do the stretches and where to massage to alleviate that plantar fasciitis heel to toe pain.

*Note: if you make a purchase using the Amazon links below I will get a commission – at no extra cost to you.

Plantar Fasciitis Night Spl...Shop on AmazonProStretch the Original Cal...Shop on AmazonBreo Foot Massager with Hea...Shop on Amazon

I hope this helps and your feet get better soon!

You might also like to read my post on how to avoid getting a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) on a plane >

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Caleb Allen

Saturday 8th of October 2022

Great Content Megan! As a Travel Physiotherapist I will vouch on the quality of this post =]. If there are ever any other pains/aches you come across with your travels, I'd be happy to lend a knowledgable hand!


Caleb Allen PT,DPT

Megan Singleton

Saturday 8th of October 2022

Thanks Caleb!

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!