Plantar Fasciitis is a common injury that many of our clients face but we find they aren’t aware of how massage therapy can help. We wanted to provide a bit of information on what exactly plantar fasciitis is and how your massage therapist can help you correct this painful issue.
What is it?
Plantar Fasciitis is a disorder where there has been added strain to the plantar fascia that has resulted in small tears. These small tears can cause pain and inflammation in the bottom of your foot. Your plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that helps support the arch of the foot. Pain is most often felt on the bottom of the heel where the heel meets the arch of the foot. If left untreated, mobility becomes difficult due to the pain in the area and bone spurs can form on the calcaneus (this is the bone that primarily makes up what we refer to as your heel). Bone spurs do not go away so it is important to seek treatment to prevent the issue from progressing.
What causes it?
An important aspect of treating plantar fasciitis is educating our clients on what causes it. We can treat the condition but if we aren’t looking at the cause, there will be no resolution.
There are several factors that can put you at risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
- Exercises that put strain on the heel/arch of foot
- Foot mechanics/structure – high arches, flat feet, abnormal gait that throws off weight distribution
- Prolonged standing or walking
- Improper Footwear
- Weight Gain
What are the symptoms?
Plantar Fasciitis is characterized by a stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot where the arch meets the heel. Most people complain that it is worse in the morning or after sitting for a lengthy period of time. People often alter their gait to try to minimize the discomfort. This can result in further issues of discomfort in the knees, hips or back.
How can massage therapy help to treat Plantar Fasciitis?
Massage therapy can help to lengthen muscles that are short and tight that could be placing added strain on the plantar fascia. It works to draw circulation to the area to help heal micro tears in the muscle and supporting fascia. Your massage therapist can also make suggestions for home care to help reduce strain and promote healing between appointments.
What can I expect at my appointment?
Your massage therapist will take a thorough health history and ask you questions that will help identify if what you are experiencing is characteristic of the signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Assessment techniques may be performed to give them a more accurate picture of what is involved. This could include a postural and gait analysis, palpation, and special tests. This assessment will help your RMT to make a treatment plan that will best assist you in your healing. Your massage therapy treatment will include hands on techniques, education, and home care recommendations.
What are some recommendations that I can try at home to manage the symptoms?
- Your massage therapist will tell you that the number one thing that you will have to do is REST! You need time to heal.
- Check your footwear to ensure that it is not worn and not in need of replacement.
- Ensure that the footwear that you are choosing is supportive.
- Ice to the area of pain. A frozen water bottle is often recommended to roll your foot on. This decreases inflammation and is a form of self massage.
- Stretch your calf muscles.
- Avoid high impact exercises or standing for prolonged periods.
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of pain in the heel. There is no need of you suffering long term with this condition. Let one of our registered massage therapists help you heal and return to all the activities that you love!