Plantar Fasciitis

As a massage therapist who specialized in myofascial release, I have had many many clients who have come to me to help relieve plantar fasciitis. This is a great technique that helps breaks up any scar tissue and release tightening of the fascia of the bottom of the foot. I use a combination of Myofascial Release and Massage cupping on the bottom of the foot. Then follow that up with Myofascial Release and Therapeutic Massage techniques on the lower leg including the gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum longus, and flexor hallucis longus. These muscles attach under the foot and if they are tight can apply more stress to the fascia on the bottom of the foot. The Peroneal muscles and anterior tibialis also play a big part to ankle stability and movement of the ankle/foot. Castor oil packs, Kinesio Taping, and the ionic foot bath have also been very helpful in helping clients with plantar Fasciitis. although patience is essential as this is something that can take a few months of regular massage to help heal.

I had plantar fasciitis one summer in my 20’s. All I had to do is roll my foot on a wooden foot massager in the morning and I was good to go. I miss how quickly we heal in our 20’s and when we are young! It has just revisited me this winter on the opposite foot. This injury was a little different. Two years ago I got diagnosed with a bulging disk which was pinching a nerve on my left side. A year after my injury I started getting new challenges. The muscles on the right leg are smaller than the left. I’ve been having trigger point spasms in the left hamstring and calf in the evening. Then I got Bursitis in the left knee and plantar fasciitis. I have just gotten full nerve sensations on the front of my lower leg but still am not as strong in dorsal flexion on my left foot as my right. I share this story because often clients will come in and tell me that they have been diagnosed with sciatica or plantar fasciitis or something else that massage helps with, yet don’t tell me enough of their history because they don’t realize that this could be from a injury from last year or 25 years ago. So yes in my own injury I am treating the lower leg and foot, but I am still getting treatment for my hip/ lower back too.

Another thing I want to share with my own experience is that the pain is worse the first thing in the morning. This is because the fascia tightens overnight. I find this to be true with most fascial restrictions. Is the pain worse in the morning? Then my experience is it is fascia versus muscular. And even though the newest studies show that there is not as inflammation as we once thought in plantar fasciitis, I was suggested to try a green tea supplement by my naturopath to help the inflammation in my body and it has helped me very much. Sometimes taking an anti-inflammatory can reduce the discomfort enough so we can start healing the injury with stretching, excersize, and massage.

If you think you may have plantar fasciitis the first thing I recommend is getting a diagnosis from a doctor. They now have scans that can see the thickening of the fascia on the bottom of the foot. Then you can get a prescription for physical therapy. Do whatever the doctor suggests, this usually includes rest or they may recommend sleeping with a special boot. Then I recommend getting a massage weekly for 3 months. After that my clients find they can move to a maintenance schedule of once to twice a month. Here are some things that you can do at home!

At home homework:

Video on suggested homework

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