What is it? How can it be treated by massage? How can the client take care of it at home?
What is Plantar Fascitis?
It is an overuse condition usually found in athletes but more commonly found in people who are on their feet for extended periods of time. The plantar fascia works as a bowstring, allowing the toes and heel to come together by creating an arch during walking or running. Over time the shock absorbing fat pad at the heel loses it’s capacity to cushion and the fascia takes over. Predisposing factors can be poor biomechanics, short and tight calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and soleus), improper footwear such as continual use of flip flops, which do not provide adequate arch support and finally weight gain, including pregnancy.
How can it be treated by massage?
Ice, stretching and massage will help return the plantar fascia back to working form. Ice helps with the inflammation of the affected fascia. Stretching loosens up the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, and massage works on re-educating the muscles and fascia to return to proper working function. Massage will treat the entire leg not just the foot for a half hour treatment.
How can the client take care of it at home?
If it is a recent injury, then the client is recommended to having it elevated as much as possible, rest, ice and no weight bearing exercise on the affected foot. If it is an older injury, then the client is recommended to return to activity gradually, beginning with swimming or biking. Ice is applied 3-4 times a day to control inflammation after exercises that cause pain.
Stretching of the gastrocnemius and soleus is a must. 1-2 times a day. Rolling the foot on a tennis ball helps with stretching the fascia and is done very slowly. Shoes with adequate arch support are recommended as well as being referred to physiotherapy or orthotics through a chiropractor.