What is Dry Cupping for Plantar Fasciitis?

What is Dry Cupping for Plantar Fasciitis? As the name suggests, dry cupping involves the use of cups to alleviate heel pain while restoring the tissues’ elasticity. The suction used in this therapy lifts and pulls tissues apart, which increases circulation and resolves muscle knots. It also eliminates toxins and promotes faster healing with tissue lubrication. 

Have you seen the deep red circles on the shoulders and backs of many athletes? These circles are evidence of a technique called dry cupping.

If you are looking for an alternative therapy for your heel pain, dry cupping may already cross your mind. Now, you may wonder what is dry cupping for plantar fasciitis.

Keep reading to know if dry cupping suits your plantar fasciitis treatment needs. 

Dry Cupping: what is it? (What is Dry Cupping for Plantar Fasciitis)

Dry cupping refers to a manual therapy involving positing a cup to a certain skin area. It creates a vacuum for negative pressure application. This negative pressure helps promote increased blood flow to the area.

This therapy is done with a simple system that involves a manual hand pump and a cup creating a negative pressure after the cup is applied or a heated cup creating a vacuum as it cools.

Patients who want to undergo dry cupping can visit a licensed physical therapist or do it themselves at home using kits. 

Generally, cups will stay on the skin for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, these cups are carefully removed. There are increased blood flows through the area where the cup is placed, and that area rises through suction. As a result, pain is reduced, and the adhesions are broken down.

What are the conditions that cupping therapy is used a treatment? 

cupping therapy

Dry cupping is commonly used to treat various conditions, like osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chronic shoulder, back, and neck pain. This technique is recently used in treating plantar fasciitis. 

Here are other conditions that cupping therapy is used for:

  • Varicose veins 
  • Bronchial congestion due to asthma and allergies
  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Migraines 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Skin issues like acne and eczema 
  • Gynecological and fertility disorders 
  • Rheumatic diseases like fibromyalgia and arthritis 
  • Blood disorders like hemophilia and anemia 

Is dry cupping effective for treating plantar fasciitis?

Many studies are performed to know the effectiveness of dry cupping for pain management. However, studies about using it for plantar fasciitis remain forthcoming.

Meanwhile, a recent study suggests that dry cupping correlates with plantar fasciitis pain reduction, especially when performed with electrical stimulation therapy.

The same study reveals that when dry cupping is combined with TENS therapy and other electrical stimulation therapies, was effective in reducing pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Participants are seen with reduced morning pain and overall pain after two sessions weekly for 24 weeks.

Dry cupping is the opposite of myofascial massage. It involves negative pressure applied to the calves, heels, and plantar surface, enabling more blood flows, promoting faster healing, and loosening ligaments and muscles in these areas, unlike myofascial that applies positive pressure to the affected areas by massaging stressed and damaged tissues.

Does dry cupping for plantar fasciitis present side effects?

You may experience minimal side effects with dry cupping, including:

  • Slight swelling
  • Mild skin infection 
  • Slight bruising
  • Raised red circles on the skin 
  • Mild pinching sensation

Dry cupping is safe and only presents minimal side effects as long as performed by trained and licensed health professionals. 

equipment and cups

If the equipment and cups are not sterilized and contaminated by blood, they can spread bloodborne diseases like hepatitis B and C. 

During the dry cupping process, cups should be applied only to soft tissues, not bones. It is critical that cups should not be left on the skin for a long time because it can result in broken capillaries or damaged skin. 

Below are the conditions wherein dry cupping is not recommended for treating plantar fasciitis:

  • Pregnant 
  • Deep vein thrombosis 
  • Certain types of spreading cancers 
  • Irritated or broken skin 

If you wish to try dry cupping for your heel pain, ensure to use it alongside proven conservative plantar fasciitis treatments such as weight loss, stretching, regular icing, and orthotics. 

Experimentation with various low-risk treatment methods and basic treatment options is an excellent way to find the most helpful pain management technique for your current condition.

If you want to know What Happens If Plantar Fasciitis Goes Untreated, then read out this guide.

What should you ask the doctor before performing dry cupping for plantar fasciitis?

Like other plantar fasciitis treatment methods, you should talk to your physician before performing dry cupping. Also, talk to your cupping therapist as well and ask the following questions:

  • What conditions do you use dry cupping for?
  • What is your experience and training in using dry cupping?
  • How can you say I am ready to get dry cupping for my heel pain?
  • What preparations should I make before the dry cupping session?
  • What are the conditions that I should not get dry cupping?

Why are many plantar fasciitis patients interested in dry cupping?

One of the top reasons dry cupping is becoming a thing for many people suffering from plantar fasciitis is that it is an inexpensive treatment.

The plantar fascia is a tough band-like tissue connecting your heel bone to your toes. Once this tissue is inflamed, damaged, or strained, you will experience intense pain in the heel. With dry cupping, you can get an inexpensive way to relieve pain.

Dry cupping for plantar fasciitis increases blood circulation to the affected areas and reduces inflammation, leading to decreased pain. This therapy is safe for both men and women, but particular conditions must be considered.

Aside from being inexpensive, the process is quick and effective. Many people who used dry cupping reported satisfying results. That is particularly true when combined with other treatment methods.

If you are not yet familiar with common pain relievers for plantar fasciitis, you can read our post about the treatment for plantar fasciitis


Dry cupping is a recent treatment for plantar fasciitis. It relieves pain through increased blood flow, eliminating muscle knots, removing toxins, and lubricating tissues. It provides long-lasting relief. If you wish to boost the effectiveness of dry cupping, you can combine it with other methods like wearing the proper footwear. You can check out our top picks for the best plantar shoes.

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