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The Science Behind Plantar Fasciitis Massage

Roderick McMullen


There are a lot of home foot massage products out there, ranging in price from five bucks to several hundred dollars. Most of the foot massagers feel pretty darn good when you rub a sore foot on them, but the relief is often fleeting.

So, when we invented our Arch Massager for Plantar Fasciitis, we wanted to base our design on scientific principles that deliver superior results. Looking beyond the hurts-so-good effect of deep tissue massage, we set out to create a tool that eliminates the root cause of Plantar Fasciitis pain. 

How Professional Foot Massage Works for Plantar Fasciitis

When we first designed the Arch Massager, we wanted to combine the proven clinical benefits of Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM, also known as the Graston Therapy) with the convenience and affordability of a home remedy - like rolling a lacrosse ball under your foot.

So how does IASTM work? Overload on the plantar fascia creates a buildup of scar tissue. This thickened tissue takes up more space in your foot, causes pain, and tolerates less stress than normal tissue. IASTM uses a stainless steel instrument and an appropriate targeted application of force to break down and realign scar tissue.


Here is a quick video of Alleviate’s co-founder and chief inventor, Luke, using this technique on a patient.

As the tissue heals with proper alignment, it causes less pain. The healthier tissue can withstand more stress, meaning it's less susceptible to re-injury.

According to a 2019 clinical research study, Plantar Fasciitis patients saw significant improvements in foot pain and foot function after receiving IASTM treatment, compared to stretching alone.

The science shows that you are likely to get great results from a well-trained practitioner of Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization or the Graston Technique. However, there are caveats: the treatment needs to be delivered correctly and regularly.

How Plantar Fasciitis Massage Works

Correct Plantar Fasciitis Massage

Using this technique correctly involves applying the proper pressure to the right parts of the foot to create a change in the problematic tissue that's causing pain. Typically, this requires a trained practitioner, such as a chiropractor, athletic trainer, or physical therapist, using a purpose-built stainless steel tool.

Regular Plantar Fasciitis Massage

Applying this technique regularly means using IASTM often enough to change the tissue, and with sufficient time between sessions to heal the adjusted tissue.


Many practitioners recommend the IASTM treatment as often as twice per day. Practically speaking, though, only elite athletes will have access to this level of care from a professional.

Getting a Deep Tissue Massage for Plantar Fasciitis at Home

We designed the Alleviate Arch Massager to fill this treatment gap by allowing patients to self-administer professional-level massage at home - both correctly and regularly.

The geometry of the Alleviate Arch Massager is precision-engineered to let you reach the most critical trigger points of the foot with the same amount of pressure as a steel tool, which is impossible to do with any other home foot massager on the market.

With the Arch Massager, you can also check the regularity box, because you don't have to go to a physical therapist or other clinical professionals to receive the tissue-changing massage. It only takes 2-3 minutes in the morning and 2-3 minutes in the evening.

Pro-Level Massage Is the First Step

In addition to massage, studies show that a comprehensive clinical approach that also include 1) taping and 2) exercise can improve results in plantar fasciitis patients. Effective Plantar Fasciitis treatment, at home or at a PT office, requires all three components.


Our co-founder, Luke, a PT with 20 years of experience, has successfully treated thousands of patients with these methods in his professional practice. This is the clinical basis of our Alleviate Method of at-home recovery. The three-part Alleviate Plantar Fasciitis System gives you everything you need to follow the Alleviate Method and treat plantar fasciitis at home effectively. 

Key Takeaways

Professional foot massage is an effective treatment for Plantar Fasciitis. Physical therapists use a technique called IASTM to repair the damaged tissue and relieve pain.

To easily replicate the effective deep tissue massage for Plantar Fasciitis at home, try the Arch Massager, designed by a physical therapist and precision-engineered to accelerate your recovery.

Treat Plantar Fasciitis at Home with Foot Massage & More

Luke designed the 3-component Plantar Fasciitis System (v2) to let everyone easily replicate the gold standard of care at home.

Wear the updated Loft 2 Brace to stay active while reducing pain. Give your foot a pro-level massage with the Arch Massager and promote tissue healing. Use the Guided Recovery Program to set a goal, progressively rebuild strength for recurrence prevention, and celebrate every win with progress tracking.

It's everything you need to recover, and nothing you don't.