Proper Placement of TENS Pads for Plantar Fasciitis

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The proper placement of TENS pads is critical. Pain associated with plantar fasciitis generally runs across the foot’s bottom from the heel up to whether the toes connect. To help reduce the aches and pain, you should place the pad on the foot’s bottom, the side of the foot, and the calf.

Are you dealing with pain caused by plantar fasciitis and using TENs pads to alleviate the pains and aches? Do you want to know the proper placement of TENS pads for plantar fasciitis?

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Keep reading to know if you are really using the TENS pads for heel pain correctly.

What are TENS Pads?

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) refers to a technique of relieving pain using a low electrical current.

The TENS machine pertains to a battery-operated small device with leads connected to electrodes known as sticky pads.

You need to directly attach these sticky pads to the skin. You will feel a tingling sensation once you switch on the machine as low electrical impulses travel to the affected body parts.

These electrical impulses help reduce the pain signals that go to the spinal cord and brain, relieving pain while relaxing muscles. They stimulate the endorphin production as well, our body’s natural body painkillers.

What is the Proper Placement of TENS Pads for Plantar Fasciitis to relieve heel pain?

The key to the effective use of TENS pads is proper placement. The pain caused by plantar fasciitis starts from the heel, across the bottom part of the heel, all the way to the plantar fascia, a tough tissue band that runs along the foot sole and attaches to the toes’ base and the heel bone.

Every time you feel pain and aches, ensure to place the TENS electrode pads on the foot’s bottom part, side of the foot, and the calf. 

Remember that the placement of TENS pads is not an exact science. Meaning, feel free to experiment with the pad’s placement along your heel and back of your knee.

Placing two electrode pads under the foot along the middle part, where the plantar fascia connects the heel to the foot’s front, is another common pad placement. Always put the pads where the pain and aches are most severe.

Tip: It is ideal to leave a space between the TENS electrode pads, like one inch. 

Do TENS pads help with plantar fasciitis pain?

TENS pads

TENS pads do not heal the plantar fasciitis completely. However, they provide a safe method of relieving pain and help the affected tendons in the healing process.

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Initially, electrical impulses block the pain signals to the spinal cord and the brain, replacing them with a tingling sensation. 

It is recommended to use the TENS pads for at least 30 minutes to reap the maximum benefits. If your heel pain is severe or chronic, you can use these pads for longer periods. 

There is no enough scientific evidence about the TENS’ reliability in pain relief. Clinical trials are still ongoing and more studies are needed.

Some healthcare professionals reported that TENS helped some people. But how well the pads work will depend on the condition being treated and the individual.

Do not use TENS electrode pads to cure plantar fasciitis pain because they only provide a short-term relief while using them. 

On the bright side, the use of these pads is generally very safe. You can add it to your current medical treatments. You can also check out our top picks for the best flip flops for plantar fasciitis, which are perfect if you need to go out on hot summer days. 

What are the things you should keep in mind when using TENS pads?

One of the best things about using TENS pads for plantar fasciitis is that you do not have to deal with long-term side effects when used correctly, unlike prescribed and over-the-counter medications for pain.

When you purchase TENS units, ensure to read instructions carefully on what you should do with them. Below are a few reminders when using TENS pads for plantar fasciitis:

  • Do not place TENS pads near excessive heat or in water.
  • Do not mix old disposable batteries with the new ones since the voltage becomes insufficient for the machine to operate.
  • Remove the batteries if you plan to use the TENS unit regularly. Suppose the unit is equipped with built-in lithium batteries, there is no need to remove them.

When should you not use TENS pads to relieve your plantar fasciitis pain?

While TENS pads are safe to use for relieving discomfort and pain due to fasciitis pain, there are still some situations that you should avoid using them.

Do not use TENS pads if you have infectious or acute diseases, epilepsy, heart rhythm problem, or a pacemaker. You should not also use the pads near heart alarms or monitors.

Do you want to know about Plantar Fasciitis vs Heel Spur, read out this guide.

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Where should you not use TENS electrode pads?

If you wish to use TENS pads other than on your plantar fasciitis, you have to avoid placing them on the following:

  • Over the eyes 
  • On the abdomen (for pregnant women)
  • Across the head’s front part 
  • Near malignant tumors 
  • On the head of individuals under 12 years old 
  • On the carotid arteries in the neck’s front part

What are the things to remember when using TENS pads on the skin?

Here are some things you should remember every time you use TENS pads on the skin:

  • Make sure that the area where the TENS pads will be put is dry to ensure they adhere to the skin.
  • Always wash the skin area where the pads will be placed.
  • Shaving the hair in the skin area where the electrode pads will be used is unnecessary. For excess hair, it is ideal to use scissors simply. 
  • After using the pads, do not forget to pull them in the direction of hair growth.
  • Put the pads back into the plastic square after every use to ensure they stay sticky and reuse them multiple times.
  • Do not apply the electrode pads on the broken or irritated skin and open wound.

Conclusion 

There is no wrong way of using TENS pads as long as you are properly following the instructions and placement guides. The most important thing is you will get the desired results.  If you think TENS pads are not enough to relieve your plantar fasciitis pain, do not hesitate to check out our treatment for plantar fasciitis post.

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