Specialized Weaponry / Toys

If you missed my earlier posts on plantar fasciitis, you can find the Opening Gambit here and the Front Line Assault Measures here. Now, onward to Specialized Weaponry a.k.a. Toys.

One of the worst things about plantar fasciitis is how incredibly frustrating it is. It makes you want to tear your hair out about your body’s incredible slowness in getting better. This frustration can make you vulnerable because you’re so ready to get rid of the PF that you’ll do just about anything – or buy just about anything – in case it might work. And different techniques do work for different people so maybe this latest gadget will be the cure! I tried to keep my gadget budget under about $25 per thing-a-ma-bob and I still ended up spending too much money on this stuff. Luckily the Maestro talked me out of the $140 “cure-your-plantar-fasciitis” flip flops that somehow ended up in my amazon shopping cart. I talked myself out of the $100 contraption that basically holds a Thera-band on your ankle. Here are some of the toys I did buy along with my thoughts on whether they worked or not.

Straussburg sock ($40 from amazon, available in white or oh-so-sexy black). I almost filed this one under front line assault measures. The Straussburg sock is one of the few toys that is frequently really helpful. I credit this contraption with keeping several of my short-term PF flare-ups under control. Whenever someone asks me what to do about PF, I tell them to get one of these socks and wear it every night. I would often wake up and take it off in my sleep because it’s really not comfortable, but I could tell the next day if I had managed to keep it on because my foot would feel better. The Straussburg sock is the only toy that I consider non-optional. I now often travel with mine, just in case.

Stick Foot Wheel Massager ($20 from amazon). Someone in one of my running groups recommended this foot wheel and I ordered it immediately. Rolling my foot on this generally makes it feel great. When the PF was really bad, this thing was too much. It also tends to skitter across the floor so sometimes I use it on a towel. How much did I like this thing? I carried it in my purse so I could use it at work. Highly recommended.


Yogabody Toe spreaders
($17 from amazon). Amazon has pages and pages of these on offer. I got some that come in two different sizes and come with a nifty wooden storage box. They fit inside my shoes and they felt great until they would suddenly start feeling horrible and I would have to take them off immediately. Stretching out your feet is supposed to help with PF. Did they work? I don’t really think so. But they felt good enough that I am tempted to try wearing them again just to test them out.


Cupping Therapy Set (about $15-45 on amazon). Cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy approach made popular by Michael Phelps and the weird red marks on his skin at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The idea is that you create suction under the cup (historically with heat but now more commonly with a vacuum pump). Cupping promotes blood flow and lack of blood flow is one reason PF is so darn slow to heal. It also might help pull apart the “fibers” of the fascia and generally help loosen things up in your foot. I found a massage therapist who did cupping and she said she had cured lots of people with 1-3 sessions. I liked it enough that I bought my own set of cups and it did provide some short-term relief. It didn’t prove a permanent fix for me, but I think it’s one of those therapies that is for sure worth trying. If you can’t find a local therapist to do this for you, it’s not at all complicated to do it yourself with a set from amazon.

Plantar fasciitis compression socks/foot sleeves (about $15 on amazon). Again, there are a million versions of these and they all seem basically the same. The idea is that the pressure from the compression somehow feels good. These socks get absolutely rave reviews on amazon but they did practically nothing at all for me. For $15, these might be worth a try, just in case they work for you.


Supplements: These aren’t exactly “toys” but I wasn’t sure how to categorize them. Some people swear by this approach. I plopped down over $50 at the natural food store on a collection of supplements that included flax oil, Glutamine, and magnesium and I took this stuff religiously for a few weeks. Apparent effect? Zero, nada, zip. I don’t even think the magnesium helped me sleep any better.

Someone should really start a plantar fasciitis toy library where you could check these things out to see which of them, if any, are effective for you. Trying a bunch of this stuff at least keeps you occupied while you wait and wait and wait for your foot to get better.

I hope before you work your way through this entire list, you decide to call in some outside assistance. Next post – bring in the cavalry.

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2 Responses to Specialized Weaponry / Toys

  1. Kevin says:

    What about ultrasound?

    • sarah says:

      Only extra-special friends of the Maestro get at home ultrasound. Normally you only have access to that treatment at the PT’s office so it will be covered in the next installment. But no surprise that you are now also a PF expert!

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