Plantar Fasciitis TENS Unit Therapy – Does It Help?

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Do you have plantar fasciitis and are experiencing significant foot pain? I’ve been there — too much running with poor form for me!

If you’re looking for alternative ways to deal with the pain of Plantar Fasciitis, a TENS unit is worth a try!

Plantar fasciitis TENS unit therapy is a good way to help deal with the pain, but it won’t treat the root causes of PF. In this article, I’ll go over plantar fasciitis and TENS units to help explain how the therapy can work. 

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common sources of foot pain. It is felt along the bottom of the feet, from the back of the heel to the toes.

If there is one thing that plantar fasciitis is known to cause, it is heel pain. With this condition, there is an inflammation of the tissue that runs through the bottom of the foot. This is the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. 

Have you ever stepped your foot out of the bed in the morning and felt terrible pain? Plantar fasciitis could be the culprit here. 

Usually, the pain will decrease as you take a few more steps. However, the pain can come back again when you stand for a long time, or when you sit and then stand up. 

Due to the stress and tension on the fascia, small tears could develop. When it does, it could cause irritation and inflammation. 

The main cause of plantar fasciitis is not very well understood but it is believed that there are certain factors that could increase the risk of having it. 

Such causes could include being in the middle ages, around 40-60, doing exercises that stress the heel like running, aerobic dance, or ballet, having a high arc or a flat foot, being obese, and working on jobs that keep you on your feet for a long time. 

No matter what could have caused the plantar fasciitis, the feeling of pain and stiffness on the heel of the feet is still felt. This is especially true early in the morning upon waking up and taking your first steps. 

To relieve the pain and to help with it, you can do stretching, rest your heel, or even find shoes that provide proper support.

However, there are a lot of people who suffer from the pain that plantar fascitis bringswho turn to TENS unit therapy.

The Plantar Fascitis TENS Unit Therapy

Many people are looking into using a TENS unit for their plantar fasciitis for a variety of reasons. 

It is an effective way to help deal with the pain that may be brought about by the condition. 

One of the things people love about it is that they won’t have to consume any medication, drugs, or chemicals to deal with the pain. Certain pain medications can have side effects depending on the people who consume them, including the big one: addiction! 

TENS units are easy to use, though they look daunting at first, with all the wires and sticky pads.

Although there are therapists who offer this and use them on you, there are available home units that are easy to use. They can be adjusted easily and they come complete with everything you need to use them. 

Although the TENS unit doesn’t cure plantar fascitis, many still use it to help aid with pain management. Generally, TENS machines are used up to 4 times a day for about 30 to 60 minutes each session

How To Use TENS Unit For Plantar Fascitis

With plantar fasciitis, the pain is felt on the foot, especially the heel. In some cases, the pain can also be felt up to the calves. The area where the pain is will tell you where to place the electrode pads for the procedure. 

Here’s how to use your TENS unit to help with the pain from plantar fasciitis: 

Step 1: Clean the area to be treated. 

This step is essential and it makes sure that maximum electrical stimulation is done. Once the area is cleansed, make sure that it is dry before proceeding to the next step. 

Step 2: Stick the adhesive pads to your foot.

Place the adhesive electrode pads on the heel or on the center of the foot where the arc is. The self-adhesive pads should stick well and shouldn’t fall off throughout the procedure. 

Step 3: Program your TENS device and make adjustments. 

Sometimes, there are already pre-programmed settings on your TENS device. For others, you have to manually select the settings such as the time, frequency of pulses, intensity, and duration. Follow the instructions for your specific device. It’s a good idea to start at zero power, and slowly work your way up until the pain is lessened.

Step 4: Repeat if necessary. 

After running the program, you can now assess whether there is still pain or if you still need another session. If you think you do, you can repeat the steps and run another session as needed. 

Where To Place The Adhesive Pads For Plantar Fascitis

As I mentioned earlier, the adhesive pads are where the electrical current will be focused. It is important to properly place them so that they can target the nerves that they need to work on to relieve your pain. 

The first clue when it comes to adhesive pad placement is where you feel pain. With plantar fasciitis, the pain is felt on the foot, usually the heel. This means that the adhesive pads should also be placed on the bottom of the affected foot. 

The first clue when it comes to adhesive pad placement is where you feel pain. With plantar fasciitis, the pain is felt on the foot, usually the heel. This means that the adhesive pads should also be placed on the bottom of the affected foot. 

Sometimes, you can place one pad on the heel and another on the arc of the foot. This is the area where the ligament is and it connects your toes to the heel. 

For those who also feel pain up to their calf, you could also place the adhesive pads on the calf area where you feel pain. Some also place a pad on the area near their ankles. Proper placement of the TENS unit pads is important when it comes to successful TENS unit therapy.

A little trial and error may be necessary to find the right pad setup that best relieves your pain. Don’t be afraid to experiment, using your own sensations to guide you.

What Is TENS Unit Therapy?

TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. TENS machine therapy is a procedure that uses electrical current to help with pain in various areas of the body. 

The TENS unit has a power source, usually a battery, that provides the electric current that goes through the electrodes that are attached to your skin. 

The electrodes are positioned in the areas near or on the nerves. These specific areas are also called trigger points.

Once the TENS unit is activated, an electrical current is applied to the area. 

There are two possible effects of the electrical current that are believed to be helpful with pain management. First of all, it is believed that the current affects the nerve cells and stimulates them to block pain signal transmission. 

Apart from that,the electric current’s effect on the nerve stimulates the level of endorphins. Endorphins are naturally present in the body and one of their function is to block the perception of pain

Both of these effects will help lessen the pain that you feel.

TENS unit therapy is used to help relieve chronic or acute pain caused by various conditions such as tendinitis, bursitis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, back pain, pelvic pain, peripheral artery disease, plantar fasciitis, and others. 

Here are a few examples of how it’s used:

How Do TENS Devices Work?


TENS devices are usually powered by a battery. It comes with a set of electrode wires with pads at one end. 

The electrode wires are attached to the TENS unit itself while the other end is usually attached to ”adhesive . These adhesive pads stick to the skin without being too painful when they are removed. 

Once it is attached to the area in the body where therapy should be done, you can now start switching the device on. This will prompt the device to deliver electrical current in pulses. 

Adjustments as to frequency, duration, intensity, and type of pulses could be programmed depending on your therapist. Alternatively, there are also  ”home  available and they come with instructions as to the adjustments. 

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Last update on 2024-07-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API