This heel condition hurts like hell. Typically, you feel the pain on the underside of the heel through the arch, and it is especially uncomfortable when you first get out of bed in the morning and take a step or two. Wear and tear leads to inflammation of the plantar fascia, which supports the arch. A podiatrist is likely to recommend special stretching exercises, orthotics, good shoes, and rest. Home remedies may also aid in recovery.
I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis by one of the best foot doctors in my city. I was given pain medicines, many anti-inflammatory drugs, and foot splints with no success. As a last resort, he recommended steroid injections for the intense pain. A friend suggested that I try cherry juice. In two days, I was nearly pain free. It was almost a religious experience. I am convinced this works, and I have since drunk more cherry juice when pain flared up a few weeks later. Once again I got great relief.
A number of animal studies on rats treated to develop arthritis have shown that cherry extract can reduce paw swelling and pain behaviors. The red compounds, anthocyanins, appear to have anti-inflammatory effects. We don’t know why cherry juice would have worked when anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin did not, but we’re glad to hear of it.
I have a sensitive stomach, so drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen cause me problems. I have also heard that these drugs can be hard on the liver and kidneys. What else can I use for my plantar fasciitis and back pain?
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can certainly cause stomach ulcers and kidney or liver damage when taken in high doses for long periods of time. Some people can’t even tolerate low doses without getting heartburn. For plantar fasciitis, the best solutions are arch supports and stretching. Muscle pain may also respond to tart cherry juice. Two separate research projects on horses and college students have shown that cherry juice minimizes exercise-induced muscle damage.1
I am an RN and am constantly on my feet at the hospital. I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis two years ago and had steroid injections in both heels several times without much relief. A couple weeks prior to seeing the podiatrist who would do surgery on my heels, I began taking fish oil for my cholesterol. I was a little embarrassed when I went for the presurgical visit because at that time I wasn’t having any discomfort. I told him about the fish oil I was taking, and he told me that fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties. I take four capsules a day, so I don’t need the surgery and have no pain!
Your podiatrist is quite right. Research indicates that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have anti-inflammatory activity,2 and taking roughly 4,000 milligrams per day should certainly be enough to make a noticeable difference. Other conditions that may respond favorably to fish oil include attention deficit disorder (ADD), osteoarthritis, heart disease, depression, and dementia.
Source Credits: Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic