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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Plantar Fasciitis or Plantar Heel Bursitis: Rolling Ice Stretch

The Most Time-Effective Treatment for Plantar Fasciits is a 5 minute Rolling Ice Stretch. It combines anti-inflammatory, mechanical massage, and plantar fascial stretch all beneficial in helping plantar fasciitis. If there is a plantar bursitis, an additional 5 minutes of massage just to the bottom of the heel is performed. A plastic bottle of any shape (patients do have their favorites) is filled 1/2 to 2/3 full of water and then frozen. The water will expand with freezing. Then, a towel is placed on the ground, and from a sitting or standing position (I personally like standing but not with full body weight), the arch from heel to toes is gradually massaged from 5 minutes. Patients are told to gently massage the skin for the 1st minute, the 2nd minute they can massage a little deeper into the soft tissues, and the 3rd to 5th minutes the massage should get deep into the deeper tissues (fascia, muscle, and tendon). This treatment should be done three times daily. The bottom of the heel gets its own 5 minutes if a bursitis is present. Remember with icing the 4 to 1 rule. If you ice for 5 minutes, the tissue is tight for the next 20 minutes, prone to pull if used, so be careful to go easy on it during the thawing-out phase. This treatment can be used for many months until the final healing of the plantar fasciitis.


  1. This blog post was questioned on
    What is the supposed mechanism of improvement?
    In my experience The cold reduces both nocioceptor and proprioceptive response. Is it possible that proprioceptive response in the leg becomes better organized while the plantar fascia is chilled?
    Hans Albert Quistorff, LMP
    Antalgic Posture Pain Specialist

  2. Dear Hans, I am using the ice to numb so I can massage through the pain better and deeper to help breakdown the bursae (when bursitis is present). It seems that with ice you can control the inflammation and the deep massage does not set off an inflammatory reaction. If you have plantar fasciitis alone, the ice again is used to stretch the plantar fascia without setting off the inflammatory response. This is the best way I know how to get that deep massage/stretch without inflammation for a self treatment. This would not take the place of a skilled practitioner who can massage and breakdown scar tissue without irritating the condition. Rich


Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.