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See our high-level takeaways below, or skip to our full review!Our Take:
- Ergonomic handle design
- Louder than some competitor devices
- Premium materials
- Therabody app provides suggested routines
- Bluetooth connected app
- Multiple price points
- Deep-kneading massage
Jump to: Full Review
- Patented QuietGlide technology
- No ergonomic handle
- Industry-leading percussions per minute
- Some find the massage isn't as deep as competition
- TSA approved for carry-on
- Bluetooth connected app
- Multiple price points
Jump to: Full Review
Foot health is something that most of us take for granted, which is interesting considering that a recent survey showed 77% of Americans suffered from foot pain. Of those people, only a third had ever considered speaking with a podiatrist.
Although visiting a podiatrist can be a great way to take care of your foot health, there are several at-home remedies you can do to take care of common foot ailments and alleviate pain. Case in point, using a massage gun for plantar fasciitis. Not only is this a treatment that you might encounter at your local chiropractor or podiatrist’s office, but it can also be used to alleviate symptoms of plantar fasciitis at home!
There are a number of massage guns, muscle exercises, and a variety of techniques you can use to make sure your plantar fasciitis pain is minimized, and improve your quality of life.
Massage Gun For Plantar Fasciitis
If you are familiar with massage guns, you may think of deep tissue massage on large muscles in the back or along the upper leg. You may have never considered that percussion massagers work well for foot massages, too. Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition, but fortunately, performing deep massage in circular motions with a percussion device is a helpful treatment.
Few of us have the resources to seek out regular massages from a professional massage therapist, but percussion devices have helped to change the game. There are products available at multiple price points, so while you may initially be hesitant to make an investment, if you are dealing with sharp pain, you will appreciate the quick relief. You may also come to realize that massage guns offer a nice return on investment if you can avoid paid massage appointments with a licensed massage therapist.
Deep tissue massage therapy can be effective for much more than merely relieving tight muscles. Along with hot and cold therapy to increase blood circulation, you will find that utilizing a percussion gun as a foot massager will offer needed relief.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a swelling of the tendon around your heel. This is known as the plantar fascia, and it runs across the entire bottom of the foot connecting your heel bone to your toes. Imagine having to walk on your feet while this tissue is inflamed, and you’ll understand just how severe the pain associated with plantar fasciitis is.
Plantar fasciitis can be extremely debilitating, and in fact, veterans of the U.S. military who are diagnosed with the condition can receive disability payments of almost 40%. This is because plantar fasciitis can cause symptoms including pain upon standing, inability to walk long distances without pain, pain that radiates to the calves and shins, and balance issues.
Other issues that can cause you to be unable to work or even complete daily activities because of plantar fasciitis include pain leading to the lower back, stabbing pain near the heel, inability to stand for long periods of time, and pain when first waking up and stepping out of bed.
How Do You Get Plantar Fasciitis?
Although we’ve all had foot pain from time to time, either due to walking long distances or living an active lifestyle, pain associated with plantar fasciitis can become chronic if not properly treated. It is also more severe than foot pain due to minor inflammation, and it has a tendency to reoccur due to certain lifestyle factors.
Exercise and Athletes
People who are more at risk of developing plantar fasciitis include athletes such as runners, boxers, ballet dancers, and aerobic dancers. This is due to the fact that these activities put a lot of stress on the plantar fascia, causing it to become inflamed. Other activities such as jump-roping, hiking, and high-impact workouts can also make plantar fasciitis worse.
Some people develop plantar fasciitis due to the physical makeup of their feet. Flat-footed people do not have enough support on their feet, especially if they work jobs that require them to stand all day long. This can be exacerbated by not wearing shoes that have enough support.
Just the same, people with very high arches or with a distinct walking pattern can have balance issues that cause weight on the foot to be unevenly distributed, adding stress to the heels.
Age and Other Conditions
In addition, older age individuals between 40 and 60 years old are more at risk of developing plantar fasciitis due to wear and tear over the years. Similarly, people with obesity have added weight that puts additional stress on the plantar fascia, causing plantar fasciitis to develop.
Unfortunately, there are many occupations nowadays that require people to stand on their feet all day. Whether you work as a warehouse stocker, cashier, even in the medical field, being on your feet all day can put you at risk of developing plantar fasciitis. In fact, a study found that around 8% to 13% of physicians and nurses suffered from plantar fasciitis throughout their careers.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
A doctor will be able to determine if your foot pain is due to plantar fasciitis by reviewing your medical history and asking you several questions about when your foot pain originated. This can include questions about your exercise activity, where you work if the pain gets worse or better with certain movements, and other relevant information. Factors such as your body weight, and whether you have flat feet, may also be a consideration.
He or she might also order imaging tests, including x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging tests, known as MRI’s, to take a better look at your foot. If these imaging tests don’t show you have a stress fracture or other condition causing your foot pain, your doctor will recommend treatment for your plantar fasciitis, which can include at-home remedies such as using a massage gun.
Treatments your doctor or podiatrist might do at a doctor’s office can include using steroid or corticosteroid injections. These treatments can be used to help alleviate pain, and can sometimes offer immediate relief. Unfortunately, they are also short-term solutions, offering only 4 to 12 weeks of relief, and they carry significant risks including possible rupture of the plantar fascia. If this happens, surgery might have to be used to repair the rupture.
Your doctor might also prescribe you custom night splints that you can wear while you sleep. These splints stretch out your calve and plantar fascia muscles, which can alleviate inflammation and pain.
In addition to prescribing splints, your doctor might also recommend you take pain medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, or they might prescribe a more powerful muscle relaxer. Keep in mind, these medications only work to alleviate the symptoms, and might cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and fatigue.
Other treatments you can find at your local physical therapist’s office are shock wave therapy or even tissue repair using ultrasound. These methods can only be done during chiropractic or physical therapy appointments with special devices, and although they can provide some relief, there remain to be studies done on the effectiveness of these treatments for the long-term relief of plantar fasciitis.
Are Massage Guns Good For Plantar Fasciitis?
Although having proper footwear and visiting a podiatrist might help alleviate some symptoms of plantar fasciitis due to occupation, unless you change your job or career you’ll more than likely have to maintain a proper foot health routine to prevent it from coming back. This is where percussion massagers can prove helpful!
By far the best treatment for plantar fasciitis that doctors turn to includes a combination of massage therapy and physical therapy. Physical therapy exercises strengthen the plantar fascia muscle, and also the muscles of the lower leg. Over time, massage and physical therapy combined can help promote natural healing and blood flow to surrounding tissues of the plantar fascia. They can also help not just strengthen, but improve mobility and flexibility in the plantar fascia.
Massage guns can not only help alleviate pain, inflammation, and tenderness due to plantar fasciitis but can also be used to relax tense muscles in the body due to stress. Massages are proven to be able to induce relaxation and help you unwind after a long day on your feet. Unlike medications, percussion massagers are a natural way to promote circulation by going deep into the tissues of the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles.
Massage guns also have different settings that can be customized to suit your needs. Massage guns are now available for relatively low prices, at less than $300. This can be cheaper than having to undergo expensive surgery or pay for long-term medications.
Stretches For Plantar Fasciitis
Proper stretching may also provide pain relief, and is an important part of most plantar fasciitis treatment plans. Tightness in your feet and calf muscles aggravates plantar fasciitis, so working on your range of motion and alleviating that tightness will help your overall healing progress.
Start with calf stretches that target the soleus muscle in the lower calf. You don’t need to over-stretch or hold the stretch for too long. That won’t help you heal faster. Stand with your hands against the wall, and one leg extended behind your body with your knee straight and heel on the ground. Lean forward to stretch the calf, and then hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat a few times before switching to the other leg.
Another popular set of stretches involves sitting on a chair, which is always nice when you are dealing with leg pain or foot pain. Start by rolling your foot back and forth over a foam roller or tennis ball. If this tennis ball massage isn’t enough for you, some people also choose to roll their foot over a cold can or frozen water bottle to introduce cold therapy into the stretching massage.
How To Use a Massage Gun To Treat Plantar Fasciitis
There is a proper technique for applying a massage gun. Before you even use a massage gun for plantar fasciitis, you’ll want to make sure you’re purchasing the right massage gun. Certain characteristics you should look for in a massage gun include its stall force, stroke length, weight, and speed settings.
The best massage gun for plantar fasciitis should have a stroke length of 12 to 13 mm. This is the depth at which the massage gun can get into the tissues. This mid-range stroke length works on the smaller areas of the foot, and in surrounding areas, you should also apply your massage gun to, such as the calves and shins.
The stall force is the force it takes to stop the massage gun. A cheap massage fun will have a low stall force, so it will continue to jam up on you during use. Opt for a massage gun with about 30 to 50 pounds of stall force.
Finally, you should get a massage gun that is lightweight enough for you to use on your lower extremities, yet sturdy enough for repeated use, about 2 to 3 pounds. Similarly, a massage gun with around 4 to 5-speed settings is ideal to give you a bit more control and optimize your massages.
Apply your massage gun for at least 30 to 60 seconds to your shins and calves in order to warm up the tissue and promote circulation. Then, move down to your feet and apply the gun to your heel, ball of your feet, and to your arches for 30 seconds to a minute. After you’re done massaging your feet, gently stretch your plantar fascia by curling in your toes and pointing your foot at an angle toward the ground.
More Percussion Device Uses
And if you are still surprised that you can use a massage gun to treat plantar fasciitis, consider this: Plantar fasciitis isn’t the only non-traditional use for percussive devices. Sure, percussion devices are great for professional and amateur athletes alike to have around the house, but they are far from the only ones that deal with aches and pains.
Of course, follow manufacturer guidance regarding how often to use Theragunor other massage guns, and consult with medical professionals before deciding on any treatment option. Theragun recommends that use their devices two or three times per day, and for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. Don’t use the massage gun on one muscle group for more than two minutes.
Final Thoughts on Massage Guns and Plantar Fasciitis
Massage guns are a great way to alleviate the root cause of plantar fasciitis pain, which comes from inflammation and tense plantar fascia muscles. When combined with physical therapy, massage guns are a great, natural remedy for plantar fasciitis.
Massage Gun Options
Finding the perfect massage gun might be easier said than done. Fortunately, we have a few favorites that are worthy of your consideration. The RENPHO foot massager machine has thousands of reviews, and some may appreciate the Shiatsu deep kneading massager designed specifically for feet. We tend to recommend a more versatile massage gun that can be used to treat your whole body as needed.
You wouldn’t purchase a stand-alone calf massager or leg massager, most likely, so we’re not convinced it makes sense to purchase a stand-alone foot massager either. Still, the RENPHO foot massager is popular for a reason, and you may appreciate the fact that you can relax without attentively focusing on your foot massage. We get that, even though we prefer a traditional percussion device.
In researching massage guns, many people eventually compare Hypervolt vs Theragun before making a decision. There are plenty of knock-off brands available on Amazon, but we will warn you that not all massage guns are created equal. Some are plasticky and cheap and built for surface vibration rather than deep-kneading relief. These are our favorites:
While we recommend one of the larger percussion guns for at-home use, plantar fasciitis doesn’t hang out within the boundaries of your home. As with other painful foot conditions, it goes where you go. In comparing the Hypervolt Go vs Theragun Mini, you will find two capable devices that are just portable enough to take with you and to access that instant relief from a deep massage or myofascial release when you need it. We prefer the Theragun Mini due to the triangular, ergonomic handle design, but it is worth considering a Hypervolt Go review before making a final decision.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you are looking for a professional-grade percussion device to promote your healing process, in the past we would recommend that you consider the Theragun Pro vs Hypervolt Plus. Now Theragun has introduced the 4th generation Pro model, while Hyperice has introduced the Hypervolt 2 and Hypervolt 2 Pro.
If the professional-grade models are too expensive, both Theragun and Hypervolt offer mid-price devices you may consider. Hypervolt massage guns are known for their low noise levels, while Theragun percussion devices are known for their patented ergonomic handles that make the devices easier to hold as you massage hard-to-reach places. In comparing the Theragun Pro vs Elite models, or Theragun Elite vs Prime, you will find plenty of options for any budget, preference, or need. For most people, starting with the Theragun Elite is a reasonable option that provides some of the more advanced functionality featured on the Pro model, without the hefty price tag that comes with the professional-grade device. Plus, the 4th generation of Theragun devices is much quieter than the previous generation, so that isn’t as much of an advantage for Hypervolt as it was previously.
Of course, there are legitimate reasons it may be worth investing in the Theragun Pro over one of the other devices. Namely, the Theragun Pro has up to 5 hours of battery life, so you won’t have to constantly battle low and dead batteries. The other factor that clearly stands out is that the Theragun Pro’s adjustable arm that is attached to the massage head is one-of-a-kind, and makes it even easier to reach awkward positions. Combined with the ergonomic handle, and the Theragun Pro is the most functional percussion device available.
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