How to Reduce Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms with Heat and cold

How to Reduce Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms with Heat and Cold

If you've ever had a badly sprained ankle, you may remember the soothing feeling each time you placed a cool, wet cloth on your leg. Those sensations can sometimes have the same effect on other painful areas of the body – including your heels and feet! The plantar fascia is a long band in your foot that joins the base of your toes to your heel bone by extending along the bottom of each foot. When this tissue becomes overly stretched or stressed because of overuse or injury, it can swell and cause minor pain on top of rubbery soles in the mornings or after long periods of walking. It's called plantar fasciitis or simply plantar fasciitis, and while it doesn't usually require treatment from a doctor, there are plenty of methods you can use at home to deal with these symptoms.

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition affecting the heel due to constant strain. Symptoms include heel pain, stiffness, and an inability to move properly. Common treatments for plantar fasciitis are as simple as using ice or heat pads and other self-care practices.

Cold Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

When it comes to treating Plantar Fasciitis, Cold therapy is extremely effective. When applied to the area properly, it constricts blood vessels beneath the skin and reduces inflammation in all body parts. If you feel your plantar fascia pain returning, or if an attack already may be on the horizon, try wrapping ice packs around your feet before going to bed or kick back with a nice cool pack of frozen vegetables!

Standard Technique for Using Cold Therapy

Starting to get rid of your heel pain may seem like a tall order, but there are easy ways you can go about it. In the first place, it's important to remember that rest is key when dealing with such pains. To help you relax and reduce heel pain, we recommend alternating between ice packs and RICE therapy - for resting, icing and compression. It will help you relieve the initial swelling in your ankle and heel, which causes more pain than anything else. Be sure to follow our tips so you can have better results:

  • Cold therapy sack on and off for 15 to 20-minute sessions.
  • Avoid direct ice to skin contact, use a towel or cloth barrier to protect your skin.
  • To promote healing when someone has a minor injury, like a foot sprain, you can help minimize swelling by elevating their foot just above or as close to the heart level as possible. You can prop up the injured foot with some pillows or even use a leg rest pillow for convenience.
  • Apply a cold wrap or cold sack. A cold wrap typically comes in an ace bandage that can be wrapped around an injury to apply compression. Compression helps reduce swelling, but it can significantly reduce damage when combined with ice therapy. Wrap the ice pack in plastic if you cannot contact your skin directly because of allergies such as neoprene, often found in ankle support knee braces. Alternatively, opt for an ankle wrap that covers most areas surrounding your ankles and attaches via Velcro straps. These types of cold wraps are helpful for injuries across the top of your foot, including toes and instep areas.

Using Cold Therapy + Massage

Cold therapy can relieve chronic pain and stiffness in the plantar fascia, which happens when the ligaments of this connective tissue at the bottom of your foot become strained or inflamed. It helps to stretch out this tissue to reduce tension by putting an ice pack on your foot and icing it down before stretching. This way, you get both cold therapy and Massage, which will help free up a lot of buildup in your tendons and keep you limber!

  1. Fill a disposable 12 or 20-ounce water bottle ¾ full of cold water. Or use a cold massage ball or roller to achieve the same results.
  2. Put the water bottle in the freezer, leaving the cap off. The water bottle will freeze more evenly without a cap on.
  3. Once frozen, take the bottle out of the freezer and put the cap back on.
  4. Place the frozen bottle on its side onto the ground.
  5. While sitting in a chair, roll your foot over the frozen bottle with gentle pressure into your plantar fascia, ensuring it stays on a hard surface.
  6. Do this for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day, never exceeding 20 minutes.

Heat for Plantar Fasciitis

A handy technique for treating plantar fasciitis is to use heat therapy which can be done with hot water bottles or herbal heating pads. Heat therapy increases blood flow and brings more blood to the affected area. It should help reduce swelling without adding additional fluid buildup, but don't overdo it. Our advice is to take it easy and when choosing a method of heat application, make sure you choose something gentle like warmed compresses or that oh-so soothing heated water bottle!

Standard Techniques for Using Heat

  • The amount of time that you should use a heating pad for at any one time depends on how your body reacts to the heat. Generally, the larger the area is, the longer it may take for your body to warm up said area. But 20 minutes can also be too much depending on how big the area in question is and if you're experiencing any form of discomfort or not. It's recommended that 2 hours be used as a reference point when trying to determine whether or not your body's reaction will reward you with positive results.
  •  Wrap your foot with a heating pad or submerge it in a warm bath, ensuring the heel and arch are covered.
  • Adding heat to the painful areas can relax the ligaments and muscles, preventing plantar fasciitis from worsening.
  • To prevent skin burns, never use heat therapy while sleeping.

Ways to Get Relief from Heat

Heating pads

Herbal heating pads help with sore muscles and swelling. Heating pads provide relief by supplying moist warm heat to the affected parts of your body. Start by wrapping your foot with a Herbal heating pad, making sure it covers all the trouble spots. Be sure not to cover the site with clothing, as this could make the pad burn hotter than needed. When the right temperature is reached, increase your sleeping time accordingly!

Hot baths/foot soaks

Use a foot bath - It's a great way to relax and give your feet the attention they deserve! Fill a small bucket or bin that is easy to carry around with lukewarm water. If you feel it's getting too hot, add some cold water to it. Soak your feet until the water starts to cool down; it should be warm enough to penetrate deep into your tissues but not so warm that it burns your skin.


Getting yourself a foot massage from someone trained can bring about some refreshing, relaxing and often fruitful results. Foot massage can relax the sole of your feet and all the muscles in your body as well. It means you'll be feeling a lot more relaxed and comfortable, ultimately reducing the likelihood of any muscle aches or pains that you'd usually feel when getting out of bed after a long day's work. Getting regular massages will help keep those morning pains at bay because it effectively stretches all your muscles when they're still flaccid. And if you want to get rid of pain in the arches or plantar fasciitis specifically, then giving yourself a foot massage with just your hands once every two weeks should do the trick!

Heated Massage

Heated massages combined with foot rubs that focus on the bottom of your feet are two tried-and-true methods of alleviating pain caused by plantar fasciitis. To get the entire treatment, use heat rubs or a massage ball that has been warmed in a microwave before gently applying pressure along your sole, starting at your toes and rolling back and forth down to your heel. This exercise, also known as trigger point therapy, will help free up blocked energy pathways and increase blood flow to improve general health and alleviate any pain! Over time you should find that you'll experience less nagging foot pain.

When to Only Use Heat

The key to using heat alone is knowing when not to use it. In conjunction with ice, heat can be used periodically to warm tissues, increase blood flow, and diminish swelling. However, if one applies heat for too long or uses it with ice infrequently, tenderness and pain will ensue.

Alternating Cold & Hot for Plantar Fasciitis

If you have plantar fasciitis and prefer natural remedies rather than drugs, there are benefits to applying heat and cold to the affected area. The practise of alternating between different temperatures is called contrast treatment and can be an effective, at-home way to treat your symptoms.

To begin contrast therapy on your feet, you’ll need to decide if you will use cold packs and a heating pad or submerge your feet in cold and hot water. Once you’ve decided which method best suits you, contrast therapy can begin! Following these standard procedures:

  • Start with cold therapy and end with cold therapy. It will further reduce overall inflammation and pain.
  • Alternate back and forth, making certain your heel and arch are well covered.
  • The cold therapy of icing should be performed for one minute, and then the heat treatment of heating pads or hot packs should be done for three minutes.

The next time you notice your pain moving up your Achilles tendon, calf muscle getting stiffer, or the condition worsening, the best thing to do is see a doctor. If you don't want to make appointments frequently, it's advisable to call in advance and ask for an appointment. After an initial consultation with a physician, you will find yourself working closely with not only the doctor but additionally their co-workers like physical therapists and podiatrists for helping you combat structural defects.

Managing Plantar Fasciitis Pain with Ice and Heat

Cold and heat therapy can be used as part of a treatment program to help relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis in your foot. Sometimes it's tough to decide which type of therapy to try out, and there isn't one clear answer, but most people will tell you that they first use cold therapy before switching over to treatments based on heat. It's a great idea to consult with your doctor on what kind of plantar fasciitis relief you should expect from each at their respective price points!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.