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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

How massage can help plantar fasciitis

How massage can help plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is caused by inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes and can cause severe pain and difficulty when walking, running and standing. It is mostly felt as pain in the heel and sole of the foot, but can also be felt through the arch of the foot or around the outside of the heel.

The plantar fascia can get small tears which causes inflammation and irritation due to excessive standing, walking, or running, as well as improperly fitted shoes, being overweight, instability in the foot or ankle, or mis-alignment of the foot. Tightness in the calves and ankles, as well as soft or loose muscles in the foot's arch also contribute to plantar fasciitis. It can be painful for a long, ongoing time or can have minor "flare ups" in which the pain shows up intensely for a time, then goes away.

Fortunately, massage therapy can help to reduce the pain associated with plantar fasciitis and provide relief for those suffering from this condition. Massage helps to reduce pain and improve the flexibility of the affected area. It also increases circulation, which helps to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Massage can can be used to stretch and relax the tight muscles that can cause pain and discomfort, reduce pain, and improve mobility. A massage therapist will use various techniques to target the affected area especially around the foot, ankle, and calf. These techniques can include deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, myofascial release and stretching. Massage can also help balance and prevent other issues that may arise in other body parts as a result of the plantar fasciitis. If one foot hurts, especially when walking or standing, it may cause additional stress or compensation that can affect the tightness in the other leg, the hamstrings, and even the low back. Massage can cover all of those areas to make sure that the initial problem area isn't causing problems elsewhere.

How massage can help plantar fasciitis

Massage therapy can also help to reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing. Stress and pain can cause muscles to become tense, which can lead to a vicious cycle of further pain and discomfort. Massage helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can help to reduce the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. This safe and effective treatment for plantar fasciitis can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as stretching and strengthening exercises. It is important to seek advice from a qualified massage therapist to ensure that the treatment is tailored to your individual needs.

Thoughts from the therapist: As a retired professional dancer who still teaches high-level dance students, my feet have been through a lot, and Plantar Fasciitis is one of the things that I haven't been able to avoid. I can tell you from personal experience how painful it is. Mine gets triggered from being irresponsible in rehearsals and switching types of shoes frequently and dancing barefoot without properly warming up. When I get a flare-up, I take care of it by rolling my foot on a frozen water bottle to help ease the inflammation, I check in with the chiropractor I work with to make sure nothing is structurally influencing the irritation, I massage my foot, heel, and calf, and I use KT tape until the main irritation calms down, but even with all of that, it can still take an unknown amount of time for the episode to truly go away. Nonetheless, massage and taping have most effective help in the short term, and I do believe that it can help shorten the duration of an episode.

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