Effectiveness of Dry Cupping as a Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis: A Critically Appraised Topic

J Sport Rehabil. 2022 Oct 10;32(2):227-233. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2022-0198. Print 2023 Feb 1.


Clinical scenario: Plantar fasciitis is a very common pathology experienced by a wide array of individuals in the United States. Patients most commonly experience tightness and pain along the plantar aspect of their foot and on the medial side of the heel. A variety of treatment methods have been used to improve the pain levels and function of patients with plantar fasciitis. An emerging treatment method for plantar fasciitis is dry cupping, where negative pressure is created to increase blood flow to the injured area and facilitate the healing process.

Clinical question: Is there evidence to suggest dry cupping is effective at improving pain and function for patients experiencing plantar fasciitis when compared with therapeutic exercise or electrical stimulation?

Summary of key findings: Three studies examining the effectiveness of dry cupping for the treatment of plantar fasciitis were included in this review. Two studies compared dry cupping to therapeutic exercises and stretching, and 1 study used electrical stimulation.

Clinical bottom line: There is moderate evidence to support the use of dry cupping to improve pain and function in patients with plantar fasciitis.

Strength of recommendation: There is level B evidence to support dry cupping as an effective treatment method for improving pain and function in patients with plantar fasciitis as compared with therapeutic exercise and electrical stimulation.

Keywords: foot; instrument-assisted modalities; myofascial decompression; pain; therapeutic modalities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy
  • Fasciitis, Plantar* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Pain
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Treatment Outcome