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How to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis Pain Using Pressure Points

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By Upstep Staff
Romi Hector
Edited by Romi Hector

Updated February 26, 2024.

Person giving a foot massage to someone

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. If it is not managed, it can lead to significant functional limitation and discomfort. Fortunately, there are various methods to manage your plantar fasciitis, including NSAIDs, rest, massage, exercises, and wearing custom orthotics for plantar fasciitis. One of the lesser-known methods is the use of pressure points.

Pressure points are sensitive parts of the body that bring pain relief upon sustained pressure to it. They correspond to traditional Chinese medicine acupressure points, which are thought to control the flow of qi between body parts, and can be used to treat body discomfort even beyond plantar fasciitis.

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Can Plantar Fasciitis Be Treated Using Massage Techniques?

A massage is one of the most effective ways in treating plantar fasciitis. When done correctly, you can massage the plantar fasciitis away. Massaging improves circulation and stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving agents. It also promotes relaxation, relieving tension in the foot and reducing pain.

You can massage your plantar fasciitis yourself, or get someone to help you. You may also perform the massage manually or you may use a massage machine. Regardless of the technique you choose, understand that a massage can initially be discomforting, but it should not inflict pain. Always start your massage gently, and whenever possible, use a medium technique to reduce the effect of friction on the procedure.

Some of the massages you can use include the following techniques and methods:

  1. The kneading massage technique.
  2. The effleurage technique.
  3. The petrissage method.
  4. The cross-fiber method.

Are There Pressure Points That Can Be Massaged to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis?

There are many pressure points in the foot. By targeting the ones that connect to the foot and applying pressure to them, you can relieve plantar fasciitis. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, three pressure points that directly affect heel pain are Tai Xi, Kun Lun, and Yong Quan (KD 1). These have links to the liver and kidney yin deficiency—hence their effectiveness in relieving heel pain.

While the Tai Xi pressure point is between the Achilles tendon and the top of that inner bony bump on your ankle (medial malleolus), the Kun Lun is the depression between the lateral malleolus and your Achilles tendon. The KD 1 pressure point is at the depression between the big toe and second toe.

You can target these points when aiming for pain relief after plantar fasciitis. Pain relief will occur through the release of endorphins and the stimulation of larger nerve fibers that block pain perception. Also, the pressure may stimulate the autonomic nervous system and affect the body's response to pain. Regardless of how it causes relief, massaging the pressure points is bound to relieve plantar fasciitis and reduce the time it takes to heal. To find out if you're on the right track, here are some signs that your plantar fasciitis is healing.

How to Massage Pressure Points to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis

You can either self-massage or use a massage machine alongside strengthening exercises specifically for plantar fasciitis; you can also get a professional to help you. Whichever way, there are different ways you can massage pressure points. The idea is to find which one works best for you and stick to it. Some techniques include:

Massage With the Heel of Your Hand

  • Bend the affected foot over the knee of the other leg while sitting on a chair, or at the edge of the bed.
  • Using the heel of the opposite hand, apply pressure to the sole. Work your way down from the heel to the bottom of the toes.
  • Cover the entire sole up to ten times, increasing the pressure with each repetition. You can increase the pressure by leaning into your hand with your body weight.

Thumb Massage

The difference between the heel-of-hand massage and this is in the tool. To perform this:

  • Begin in a seated position with one leg crossed over the other.
  • Using the thumb, apply pressure to your sole, moving from the heel to the toes and back. Ensure you cover every region of the foot.
  • Continue for 1 to 2 minutes, increasing the pressure with every cycle.

To increase the intensity of the massage with the heel of your hand or the thumb massage, you can flex your toes in different directions as you massage from your heel to your toes.

Bottom Line

Plantar fasciitis commonly affects the foot, especially athletes, and people that stand for long periods. Already, a massage is an established way to curb its symptoms, offering pain relief. When you target the pressure points in the foot with the massage, you increase the effectiveness of the treatment and prevent plantar fasciitis from becoming a chronic condition.

Massages are one of the many ways that you can remedy plantar fasciitis pain. To learn more, take a look at our posts on Epsom salts for plantar fasciitis and the things you should avoid doing with plantar fasciitis.

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