Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Pain Treatments for Travelers

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Never heard of plantar fasciitis? You lucky duck! If you have heard of it, you’ve probably had it. And you know it’s no fun. Plantar fasciitis is basically heel pain. It sounds innocuous enough, but it hurts really bad. Like, super bad. Heaven forbid you get plantar fasciitis right before a big vacation because, as we all know, travel typically requires lots of walking. There’s all the walking through airport security and subsequent running to meet your connection. An amusement park vacation involves traversing from ride to ride and hours of standing in lines. A site-seeing adventure can be torture, even on healthy feet. I could go on and on…but you get the idea. Here’s how to heal heel pain, especially before or during travel.

Cute feet

These are not my feet. I had to hire stunt feet because mine are not this cute. (Photo by kosziv, purchased from

Heel pain causes

Plantar fasciitis is caused by over-exercising, being on your feet too dang much, or, as in my case, wearing the wrong shoes. I bought two pairs from a store that specializes in shoes that are supposed to be particularly comfortable and good for your back and feet. (Sexy, huh?) When I first tried on the shoes, I told the sales person that the shoe on my right foot felt uncomfortable because the arch was so high. He explained that this was because the arch in that foot is very low and he said my foot would learn how to have a higher arch by wearing these shoes. In retrospect, that sounds really stupid but at the time I thought, “Okey doke. I’ll buy ’em!”

After a couple of weeks of wearing these stupid special shoes almost exclusively, my right heel started hurting. After a couple of days of limping around, I consulted Dr. Google and deduced that I had developed plantar fasciitis.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Here’s the definition, according to WebMD:

Plantar fasciitis (say “PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus”) is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk.

WebMD goes on to say:

Plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people. It also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes or soldiers. It can happen in one foot or both feet.

Talk about adding insult to injury, WebMD! Well, I refuse to admit I am middle-aged. I choose to think of myself as a soldier leading my troop (two children) through zoos and grocery stores and whatnot, thankyouverymuch!

Heel pain treatments

I had never heard of plantar fasciitis before my web searching but I soon learned that nearly everyone I’d ever met has had this affliction. And they all had their own suggestions for plantar fasciitis treatments.

My neighbor, Sara, suggested I stretch my calf muscles often. Like this:

Plantar fasciitis stretch

Hmm…maybe I should choose a different spot in the house for my next photo shoot. And put on some mascara. (Photo by my husband, Phil.)

Another neighbor, Matt, said I needed the boot. Why didn’t I have the boot, he wanted to know. I still don’t know what the boot is, but I didn’t get one.

Ugly boots

Surely I am way off, but this is how I picture the plantar fasciitis boot. (Photo by gladtobeout. Creative Commons.)

My friend, April, told me to rub mineral oil all over my calf, wrap it with plastic wrap, and cover it with a heating pad. That sounded like a lot of work so I just put the heating pad on my leg.

Dr. Google said I needed to stay off my feet and get some shoes with good arch support. Good arch support was what got me into this mess in the first place. Instead, I went out and bought the flattest shoes I could find. Aren’t they darling?

Gold shoes

These flats are much cuter than the special shoes I bought…and more comfortable too! (Photo by Colleen Lanin)

I also went to my acupuncturist. I go to her for pretty much everything from sinus infections to ringing in my ears to back and neck pain. She gave me a rather painful treatment and told me to come back again and again (at $80 a pop) until I felt better.

And I stayed off my feet for about four weeks. I mean, I REALLY stayed off my feet. I sat down while preparing dinner for the kids and while blow-drying my hair. I didn’t take the dog for any walks. I made my husband do the grocery shopping and had him drop me off before parking the car whenever we went anywhere. This is saying a lot for me because I’m a pretty active (hyper) person. That’s how bad it hurt.

I was lucky because I could do all of this non-walking pretty easily at home. If I had to travel, though, I would not have been able to avoid all of the walking required at airports, museums, hotels and beyond.

What should you do if you get plantar fasciitis right before a vacation?

I suppose you could hail one of those airport carts to transport you to your gate and make your kids push you around in a rented wheel chair. But first, buy FasciaDerm for heel pain treatment.

Plantar Fasciitis relief

FasciaDerm is a foot pain relief and recovery system that consists of disposable strips that are easy to apply, provide immediate support to tired feet, and allow your feet to rest while you remain in motion. I received some sample products to try out and they were indeed easy to put on, and they were undetectable under my socks and shoes. They are also 100 percent guaranteed. If they don’t work for you, send ’em back for a full refund.

Save on your order!

Want to give FasciaDerm a try for your aching feet? First-time customers can receive 50% off any order ($50 max savings) at At check-out enter the coupon code: MAMASHELP. Expires April 1, 2013. One time use per customer, good only for orders shipping within the USA.

Here are some quotes from satisfied customers on the website:

I have gotten great results in my podiatry practice using FasciaDerm for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Patients are extremely pleased with the convenience and the ease of use of this unique treatment system.

– Dr. Angela Dagley
Clear Lake Foot & Ankle Specialist

FasciaDerm has been developed with a introspective and foundational construct based both on anatomical structure and mechanical function of the muscle and skeletal interactions of the human ankle and foot

– Dr. Joel A. Bloom, Ph.D., MSE
Houston, TX
Koala Health & Wellness Centers, Inc.

My bout of plantar fasciitis had subsided by the time I got my FasciaDerm samples but, believe me, I will be sporting them if I get heel pain ever again.

Have you ever had plantar fasciitis? What treatments worked/didn’t work for you? Let us know in the comments!

A Note from The Travel Mama: Thank you to FasciaDerm for helping to make this post possible. All opinions are my own.

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show,, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

  1. vanessa ratcliff says

    My doctor told me to use a tennis ball because my pain actually runs from the heel to the ball of my foot and you can actually feel a hard rod of faciitis. I use the ball all the time and though it puts me in tears while I use it, afterwards helps tremendously. I also do it right before I go to bed – really helps for the first step of the morning pain. My heel pain is so bad though that I use a babseball for that. I have bought the heel and arch supports and they help a little but not enough. I am going to Disney for a week so I am prepared with my balls (lol) and stretches, ibuprofen and a loving husband that rubs the heck out of my feet! I also just bought a $1 wooden massage tool at Walmart that looks like a mini backscratcher but instead of teeth has 3 wooden rotating ballsn – again with the balls. It helps a lot as well. Good luck, I feel your pain!

  2. I can’t believe this pain in the bottom of my heel actually has a name! I am a caterer and walk my dogs – alot! I would wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and the first time I would plant my foot on the floor I would have this horrible pain – but usually only on one foot, which I found odd. I use the other foot just as much….ha! I will definitely try the FasciaDerm and see if it helps! Thanks for the “enlightment” – and I don’t consider myself, “ahem”, middle aged either although my 17 year old and 20 year old sons might differ with me!

  3. Weird name but the pain is worse haha. I suffer from similar issues as you and others mentioned here. Thanks for the info on fasciaderm.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Eric – You’re welcome. Best of luck with the heal pain. I hope you feel much better soon!

  4. I wouldn’t suggest anyone wear flats or flip flops while dealing with plantar fasciitis. My podiatrist recommended a good running shoe like Brooks. Or if wearing a sandal something with good arch support like Birkenstocks. I am in the BOOT right now, about 1 week in. There is relief when I walk, but if I stand too long in this thing my heel starts to hurt. Podiatrist also recommended stretching and ice therapy. Fingers crossed there is noticeable pain relief soon because I head to Europe in 2 weeks!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Best wishes for a speedy recovery from your plantar fasciitis, Mary! And have a WONDERFUL time in Europe!

  5. For anyone reading this, in desperation 8 years after it was written, earching for further answers (I leave for a 4 week Asian adventure in 6 weeks) I have some excellent advice.
    After ignoring heal pain and minor tears for 6 months, I was running in the surf with my kids and my Planter Fascia felt like it snapped in half. It took me an hour to crawl off the beach and get to a hospital.
    I’m now in a moonboot for 6 weeks, non weight bearing, as it tore right through.
    Do not use cold! Use heat, you want blood to rush to the area and heal the tears.
    Get some peppermint essential oil, massage your calf muscles and foot. Also comfrey cream will help inflammation.
    Stay off it, like way off it. Elevate above your heart when ever possible.
    Once you are Healed, in my case it will take around 3 months. Get a spiked ball and roll your foot every night.
    Stretch you foot and calves ever day.
    Buy the splint and wear it to bed.
    Do not ignore the pain like I did and just think a bit of stretching and nurofen will fix it, it wont!
    Good luck, it is the worst thing I’ve ever been through and I’ve birthed 2 kids.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Lala – I’m so sorry to hear about the terrible plantar fasciitis pain you’ve had to endure! I’m glad to hear you are on the mend now, though. Thank you for sharing your tips for easing the pain and healing!

    • Barbara Jackier says

      I just got plantar fasciitis in one foot. So very very painful. We leave for Viet Nam in a month. Doctor suggests I don’t go considering the amount of walking through airports and all the excursions etc. I am doing all the exercise and icing plus wearing a night splint when I sleep. Not happy.

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