What is the plantar fascia?
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Fascia is a fibrous protein-based tissue that surrounds and protects nerves, blood vessels and muscles. The layers of fascia on the bottom of the foot also help to support the bones and joints of the foot. Healthy fascia is flexible and responds to external forces. Fascia helps disperse the physical forces created by standing, walking and running. Myofascial massage heals fascia by restoring its innate flexibility.
What is plantar fasciitis?
The signs of plantar fasciitis are inflammation, swelling and pain over the heel of the foot and/or along the entire sole of the foot. The pain may be present for days or months. The pain may be constant or intermittent. The foot and ankle may be stiff. Plantar fasciitis can lead to the formation of spurs, small bony calcifications on the heel bone. Myofascial massage restores muscle and fascia health. It restores the natural plasticity and elasticity of the fascia. It also decompresses the muscle tissue, creating less pressure within the tissue, helping muscle and tendon tissue to expand to its normal dimensions.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
- This condition is common in people who:
- stand for long periods of time
- walk or run frequently or for long periods of time
- participate in sports frequently
Plantar fasciitis is more likely to occur when:
- the body is overweight
- hip, knee, ankle or foot mechanics are out of alignment
- the foot is malformed from previous sprains and injuries
- some calf muscles are tight and short while other calf muscles are overstretched and weak
- shoes do not properly support the ankle and foot
How do doctors treat plantar fasciitis?
Physicians may recommend any combination of rest, massage therapy, physical therapy, stretching, cold therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, steroids, splints and orthotics. What works best for each person is highly individualized.
What is the best course of treatment?
First, the patient must understand the importance of rest. Rest is the key to making sure that inflammation does not return easily. In the case of athletes who pound the feet relentlessly against hard surfaces, complete rest for several weeks may be necessary. Rest is necessary regardless of whatever other therapy is used.
Second, biomechanics and soft tissue health must be improved. The need to correct biomechanics is evident when therapies like massage, stretching, applications of cold and rest, and drug therapies fail to cure plantar fasciitis long-term.
Why myofascial massage is more helpful than other massage techniques in curing plantar fasciitis
Cross-fiber myofascial spreading is performed very, very slowly on both superficial and deep tissues. When correctly performed, myofascial spreading works across the fibers (cross-fiber) to spread the fascia fibers and muscle bundles. This spreading creates more space and volume within the tissues allowing better flow of fluids within the tissue. Myofascial massage restores soft tissue health without increasing inflammation. Once the plasticity and flexibility of the fascia is restored, the fascia will respond more optimally to external forces. Myofascial massage can also restore normal length and tone to short, tight muscles, The myofascial work must be performed to the entire calf, ankle and foot. Sometimes myofascial massage must be combined with custom-made orthotics and physical training to improve use of the hip and lower extremities.
Joan Sloss Ed.D. LMT, Healing Unleashed, LLC
Call today for help with plantar fascitis
Dr. Joan Sloss is ready to help you with this difficulty, painful condition. She is ready to help you be pain free. Call today 303.986.0492 to schedule your evaluation and treatment. You will be thrilled with the results.