Plantar fasciitis can often be a terribly frustrating condition with slow or little improvements after any sort of treatments.
We often consider things like orthotics, massage therapy, electric therapy, or walking boots as the main ways to provide some relief and treat plantar fasciitis, but could muscle scraping be the thing you were looking for all along?
In this article, we’ll explore how muscle scraping for plantar fasciitis can provide you relief and help you get back to walking around pain-free.
Let’s get started!
Does Muscle Scraping For Plantar Fasciitis Actually Work?
Muscle scraping provides a bunch of awesome benefits, most of which we can take advantage of for plantar fasciitis.
And while you might think that muscle scraping would cause more damage, especially since the fascia is already inflamed before we scrape, you might be surprised to hear that the opposite is true…
So yes, muscle scraping can help improve your plantar fasciitis… but how?
What Does The Science Say?
The goal is to create blood flow through the fascia and to relax any tight muscles or tendons that may be part of the reason as to why you’re dealing with this condition in the first place (e.g. the calf).
Many bodybuilders use muscle scraping for this exact reason — muscles and fascia that are tightened over time can cause pain and discomfort, which this therapy technique can help loosen.1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35417568/
This, combined with the fact that muscle scraping can relieve pain and actually help with inflammation, is a great recipe for improving plantar fasciitis.
Scraping has shown pain-relieving effects on myalgia and chronic pain, and can improve blood stasis and inflammation.2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3359830/
Lowering the overall stiffness in the tissues around the plantar fascia, improving blood flow, and helping with inflammation looks to be very promising for relief and treatment, but does it come with any risks?
Is Muscle Scraping for Plantar Fasciitis Safe?
Overall, muscle scraping is very safe and effective for many different conditions around the body.
And I know what you’re thinking — videos of people wincing in terrible pain while muscle scraping are plastered all over the internet.
And yes, it can be a bit uncomfortable — however, those videos are often very exaggerated or due to unnecessarily aggressive scraping.
Check out this article to see a real example of a before and after from muscle scraping.
Based off of those videos, it makes sense to be a bit hesitant about muscle scraping and think that it could cause more harm than good.
However, when done right and not jumping overboard with how intense you’re going at it with the scraper, doing this in the plantar fascia is perfectly safe.
That being said, take some precautions or ask your doctor if you deal with any of the following:
- Open Wounds — If you have open wounds around your foot or calf, you want to be careful when scraping around that area so that you don’t make things worse or cause an infection.
- Blood Thinners — If you take blood thinners, the high amounts of blood flow we create with muscle scraping can cause some issues, so be extra careful.
- Diabetes — Having diabetes can sometimes lower the feeling in your feet, so make sure to keep a close eye on your foot and avoid pushing too hard.
- Fractures — Broken bones shouldn’t be scraped over, so give your foot some rest if you have any fractures!
How To Muscle Scrape For Plantar Fasciitis
Now that we know the benefits of muscle scraping for plantar fasciitis and know that it’s safe, let’s check out how to do this properly and talk about a couple of things to watch out for.
Before we get into it, you might want to check out my full article on how to do the Graston Technique (muscle scraping) on yourself!
1. Select The Right Tool
Since we’re focusing on the bottom of the foot and our calf muscle, we want to use a muscle scraping tool that is tailored to this spot.
This means that we want to use a smaller tool to match the smaller areas of the body we’re hitting here — whereas if we were scraping our larger quad muscles we’d want a larger tool, for example.
Now, there’s an overwhelming amount of tools out there for Graston, IASTYM, and Astym techniques, and every health practitioner will have their own preferences…
The problem is that a lot of these are expensive — but we shouldn’t have to spend a ton of money to get what we need out of a tool.
That’s why I love using the Sidekick Curve tool when I scrape for plantar fasciitis — it’s versatile, made with high quality materials, perfect for at-home use, and affordable.
That said, the Sidekick Eclipse tool is specifically designed to be used on the lower legs and feet, so I’d strongly recommend checking that tool out.
Be sure to check out my full Sidekick tool review for more information on these implements.
2. Apply Lotion
We want to prep our target site for muscle scraping by applying some lotion, as this will help us avoid any skin irritation.
You don’t need to slather your foot or calf in a ton of lotion — just put on enough to allow your tool to glide smoothly.
3. Start Scraping
Now the fun begins.
You want to start by checking out the area you’re going to scrape, making sure that there are no open wounds at the bottom of your foot or your calf.
Spend about 10-30 seconds scraping in one direction per area that you’re targeting (e.g. the plantar fascia), then move on to the next area (e.g. the calf) — you can always come back to a spot later.
Use a consistent, moderate pressure on your tool — some discomfort is okay and expected, but you don’t need to end up crying in pain like you see in those videos.
We generally want to give 2-3 days in-between scraping sessions, or waiting until the redness is gone to avoid constant inflammation and let your body recover.
Things To Remember When Muscle Scraping For Plantar Fasciitis
There are some key things you need to remember here in order to get the most out of this therapy technique:
- Combine Treatments — You don’t want to just rely on one treatment for plantar fasciitis. As great as muscle scraping is, results are best when it’s combined with an exercise/stretching program.
- Work Multiple Spots — For plantar fasciitis, you want to work your fascia but ALSO your calf muscles to take care of any tightness that may be adding to the problem.
- Side Effects — Redness, bruising, warmth, and soreness are all normal “side-effects” of muscle scraping, so you can expect those without any worries.
- Don’t Go “No Pain, No Gain” — Muscle scraping isn’t about seeing how much pain you can put yourself through, that’s asking for trouble. Give your fascia some time to recover in between sessions and don’t push into high pain levels.
Muscle scraping for plantar fasciitis is a great and effective way to help treat the condition and relieve some pain, especially when combined with a proper exercise/stretching program.
While muscle scraping is safe and offers a bunch of awesome benefits, always make sure you’re keeping an eye on what’s going on while doing it — there is wisdom in starting any new treatment slowly!
That being said, try this out and start the journey of getting back on your feet pain-free today!