Some people may wish to use herbal or natural treatments instead of or in addition to the standard medical treatments. I have used only one of these types of heel pain remedies — an arnica montana cream — but have listed a few of the better-known herbal treatments as well.
For External Use
Arnica Montana is a flowering plant extract used in herbal medicine, both as a little pill you take internally and as a topical cream or ointment. Both forms are used for bruising and inflammation. I started using the topical form – an Arnica Montana cream called Penetrex – on the strong recommendation of a friend who used to have plantar fasciitis. (Don’t you love hearing that people “used to” have plantar fasciitis? 🙂
Although the results of scientific studies on the efficacy of Arnica are mixed*, I have to say I was impressed with the results. Using the Penetrex cream as directed, my foot started feeling significantly better in a few days. I guess I will never know if my foot had healed a lot just at the point I started applying the cream 2-3 times a day, or if the Arnica itself was really effective, but my foot did feel better. I’m still using it now, on a daily basis, and there are days when my feet don’t feel great, so I think it is clear that by itself the cream cannot “cure” your plantar fasciitis. However, my personal opinion is that it is a useful tool in plantar fasciitis “recovery toolkit.” I think the action of massaging the cream into the bottom of my foot is in itself useful.
One note. I used to use an Arnica Montana gel called Arniflora, for repetitive stress problems with my arms, and I like it, but I personally prefer the Penetrex as it seems to me to be more effective. Also, I prefer the way the Penetrix feels to put on – it’s a white cream – compared to Arniflora’s clear thin gel that. But that’s just me.
For Internal Use
I have not tried any of the herbal remedies that one takes internally. We will explore these further, but for now, here are the names of four that some people use for pain relief:
- Bromelain (pineapple extract)
Also, I can’t really vouch for the websites below until further investigation, but they have a bit more information on herbal pain remedies:
- DigHerbs summary of herbal treatments for plantar fasciitis
- LiveStrong article on natural remedies for plantar fasciitis
- Herbs for pain management
As Heel Health learns more, we will explore other options. Also, please let us know your experience with any herbal treatments.
- Consider adding Arnica Montana cream to your recovery regimen. With the one I use, Penetrex, I massage it into all the painful areas at the bottom of my foot once a day (after the first week, when the frequency was 2-3 times a day.)
- If you are interested, check out some other herbal remedies, like willow, bromelain, ginger and turmeric. As always, please use all medicines, traditional or alternative, responsibly. Research what you plan to take, and speak to your doctor first.