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The arch of your foot is supported by a strong ligament called the “plantar fascia.” It lies under the skin on the bottom of your foot and is the structure that connects the heel and the front of your foot. If the plantar fascia is injured or stressed, it may become inflamed, which makes it stiff and causes heel pain; this is the condition called plantar fasciitis. Treatments for plantar fasciitis focus on resting the tendon and reducing inflammation, which may include the use of turmeric.
Inflammation is actually the first step in the healing process after a plantar fascia injury occurs. Damaged cells release chemicals; you develop swelling, redness and heat due to increased blood flow; and the injured area is painful. These are all normal functions that eventually promote healing. The chemicals released by injured cells also attract white blood cells to help prevent infection and clean up damaged cells or tissue. Anti-inflammatory medications can reduce the pain and swelling because they interfere with this process.
Turmeric and Cucurmin
Turmeric is a spice from a plant called Curcuma longa. It contains a substance known as “cucurmin,” which is a powerful antioxidant, and which may also have anti-inflammatory effects. In research on mice reported in the June 2007 issue of the “American Journal of Physiology,” cucurmin was found to decrease cytokines and creatine kinase, substances in the blood that increase when inflammation is present. A study reported in the September 2011 “Indian Journal of Pharmacology” found that turmeric reduces both acute and chronic inflammation in mice. There is no research specific to the use of turmeric for plantar fasciitis.
Turmeric roots are the part of the plant used in herbal treatments, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Turmeric is available in capsules, as a fluid extract and as a tincture. Bromelain is often combined with cucurmin to increase the anti-inflammatory effect. The UMMC cautions that research on turmeric in general and cucurmin in particular commonly uses injectable forms, rather than oral forms of these substances, so the effects may not be the same when you take turmeric as a supplement.
Adult doses vary, depending on the condition and the form in which turmeric is used. Most supplements contain the active constituent, cucurmin, and a typical dose recommendation for standardized cucurmin powder is 400 to 600 milligrams three times a day, according to the UMMC. If cut turmeric root is used, the dosage would be 1.5 to 3 grams a day. Turmeric supplements are not recommended for children, as they have not been studied in children. There is no specific recommendation for the use of turmeric for plantar fasciitis.
Considerations and Warnings
Food products that contain turmeric are safe, according to the UMMC, and both turmeric and cucurmin supplements are generally safe. The most common side effects are stomach upset, and large doses over a long period of time may cause ulcers. Turmeric may affect blood sugar levels and interact with medications such as blood thinners, or anticoagulants. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take turmeric supplements. Consult a doctor before using turmeric or cucurmin supplements for plantar fasciitis.