Practical Water Bottle Massage Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

Water bottle massage therapy for plantar fasciitis

There are several options when considering massage therapy for plantar fasciitis. In the article Anyone Can Do This! Foot Massage with a Ball, several types of balls were suggested as a rolling device to massage the plantar fascia tissue.

Mentioned briefly, but not discussed in detail, was the use of a water bottle filled with water as a rolling device.

Water Bottle Foot Massage

This type of home treatment for plantar fasciitis can be a very practical tool to relieve tired, sore feet. It is a wonderful treatment that helps relieve pressure and tension at the end of the day. For a quick view of this type of massage, watch the following 41-second video created by Heel that Pain called Water Bottle Stretch:

The exercise is very simple. Either sit in a chair with your feet on the ground in front of you or stand up to do this exercise. Lift one foot and place the water bottle on the ground beneath the arch of your foot. Slowly roll the bottle back and forth from the ball of your foot to your heel and back.

Roll the bottle back and forth ten times. Then repeat the exercise on your other foot.

Do not hurry this exercise. Be sure to roll slowly for the most effective massage. It should be soothing to your feet, not painful.

If you so desire, you can lean forward and apply additional pressure to increase the strength of the massage. Be careful, though! If you are suffering with plantar fasciitis or some other injury to the bottom of your foot, do not put too much pressure on the painful areas of your plantar fascia.

Control Inflammation with Ice

There is flexibility with a water bottle that goes beyond the capabilities of other devices. Specifically, the water in the bottle can be warmed or frozen to provide additional massage characteristics beyond strictly massaging the bottom of your feet.

When plantar fasciitis first flares up, it is not uncommon to have some inflammation in the area of pain. That is simply one of your body’s mechanisms to fight off the injury. If the area of your foot around the injury is hot or even warm, that is usually an indication of inflammation.

Controlling the inflammatory process with ice is one step in the recommended initial management (RICE method) of that type of injury.

There are, of course, multiple ways to ice your foot.Ice pack

For example, you can freeze some water in a paper cup and then rub it over the bottom of your foot. Simply tear off the sides of the paper cup as the ice melts, thus exposing more of the ice. A 5-7 minute ice massage in the morning and following activity could be very helpful.

Another method is to place your foot on an ice pack or a frozen bag of vegetables for 5-10 minutes several times a day. Or you can simply place your foot into a bucket of icy water for a few minutes. Be careful to not over-do the icing, however.

Frozen Water Bottle Exercises

You can find several videos on the internet that utilize an ice water bottle to combine the gentle massage described previously with icing. Icing your foot can help remove the initial inflammation of plantar fasciitis and also reduce the pain in your plantar fascia tissue. In addition, the massage will help stretch out your fascia.

This is, of course, one of many good exercises for plantar fasciitis. An excellent example video is this 3½ minute video by Oscar Sanchez entitled Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms – Water Bottle Stretches.

A good example video is this 3½ minute video by Oscar Sanchez entitled Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms – Water Bottle Stretches.

To prepare a plastic water bottle for use with this exercise, do the following:

  1. Remove any labels from the bottle.
  2. Fill your bottle about three quarters full, leaving air space at the top so the water has room to expand as it freezes. You don’t want to find an exploded water bottle in your freezer!
  3. Place the bottle in your freezer in a standing position, propped up if necessary, so it will not tip over. Do not put the cap on the bottle but make sure you save it.
  4. After a few hours, remove the frozen water bottle and put the cap on it.

You are now ready for the exercise. Perform this exercise for 5-10 minutes three or four times each day. After each use, be sure to put the water bottle back in your freezer.

Is There Really Value in Icing?

Are there nay-sayers as to the value of icing your foot in this manner? Of course there are!

With every type of treatment for plantar fasciitis, you will also find those who say it does not work. This is due to the fact that our bodies all react differently and also because heel pain may be caused by many different things.

Check out The Frozen Water Bottle Myth article by tennis pro Brent Abel. He claims that icing your fascia when it really isn’t inflamed, or because it is injured on only a small portion of the fascia, may result in the opposite outcome from what you had planned.

While he recognizes the value of a massage to stretch the tiny arch muscles, he claims that icing the foot may cause the muscles to shorten, thus increasing the chance of pain and/or injury.

Of course, he also wants you to buy into his system, so consider both sides of this opinion. It is your foot and your injury. Do what is best for you!

Adding Heat to Soothe Your Feet

An exercise that could logically follow a time of icing your plantar fascia would be to use heat once the inflammation has subsided and your pain is basically gone. Again, a water bottle can be used. Instead of freezing it, however, put hot water in the bottle and roll your foot over it.

This feels especially great when your feet are cold. It also helps massage the tissues in your foot and increases the circulation to those tissues, something that assists the healing process.

When nothing else seems to be working it might be worthwhile to alternate heat and cold. Do this in 5-10 minute intervals. Your circulation should quickly increase after doing this several times.

Feedback and Questions

Have you tried a water bottle massage technique in the past? Did it help? Perhaps you want to try this for the first time and let us know how it felt.

Please share your opinions and thoughts on this simple exercise.


Allyn Beekman has worked in the computer industry and higher education. At a point of semi-retirement, he struggles with plantar fasciitis. His goal is to share all avenues of treatment and exercise that will help eliminate heel pain.

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6 thoughts on “Practical Water Bottle Massage Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

  1. Hi Allyn,
    I used the iced water bottled technique frequently when I first suffered with plantar fasciitis and it seemed to help lots. Rolling an iced water bottle under my feet had the double benefit of reducing inflamation and massaging the tendon and muscles at the same time. For some people putting your bare foot directly on the iced water bottle maybe too cold for them to stand, in which case you can wear socks, but I liked the cold feeling. It just seemed to help numb the pain.

    As my feet healed I just did this exercise less each day and then reducing it to every other day or every third day until the point my feet were healed enough I stopped altogether. Now if ever I over use my feet and they feel a bit sore, I can use the iced water bottle technique along with massage to help calm them down again.

    Thanks for the useful videos too.

    1. Thanks so much, Neil. You mentioned this technique in your personal story.

      It’s a wonderful testimony to know that this did help eliminate some of the pain and swelling. Also, it’s great that you still use this to help when your feet flare up a bit.

  2. I actually had not heard of this technique but found your post extremely interesting. My father has pain frequently so I will show this to him: thanks for the great information, look forward to reading more in the future.

    1. I hope the exercise will help reduce some of the pain for your father. You might also check out some of the other exercises and treatments that I’ve written about so far. For example, check out the four steps involved in the RICE Method. Also, look at the toe stretches and the bottom-of-foot ball massage exercises. There are numerous treatments and exercises for foot pain. Figuring out what works for your father is most important.

  3. Hi Allyn, thanks so much for sharing this useful tip! I am going to share this with my Wife as she always complaints that her feet is sore after walking on her high heels whole day at work. Hope this will help her too!

    1. Thanks Edmund. One quick question – is it necessary that your wife wear high heels every day? That may be the primary cause of the foot pain. They can be terrible on feet.

      I hope the water bottle massage will help relieve any inflammation and pain, however, better yet would be to change out the high heels for something less stressful on her foot.

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