Dealing with heel pain? If so, you’re not alone, and there’s a good chance it’s something called Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is when the thick band of tissue that connects the front of your foot to the heel becomes inflamed.
Any foot pain can be disruptive to our quality of life, and plantar fasciitis is no different – it can cause stabbing and throbbing pain in the heel, most commonly first thing in the morning when you wake up or any long period of sitting or standing in one place, such as getting up or moving from your workstation. It doesn’t usually occur during exercise and may even go away while you exercise.
What causes Plantar fasciitis?
A wide range of things can cause Plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia (that thick band of tissue we talked about) is connected like a bowstring from the base of your toes to your heel, with the foot bone being much higher in the middle of the foot. This acts as a shock absorber when we walk but if we put too much tension or overuse that band, such as can occur from being overweight or from running frequently, small tears can appear. If these tears are not given suitable time to heal, the inflammation will continue.
Who is at risk of Plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis can affect anyone, but it most commonly occurs when we don’t wear proper shoes (such as living in thin-soled flip-flops), to dedicated runners, to overweight people, and those who work on their feet. It is most common between the ages of 40 – 60, and the confirmation of your foot is also a factor. If you naturally stand or move with an unbalanced gait (such as leaning more on the outside of your foot) you’re more likely to experience Plantar fasciitis.
Can massage help Plantar fasciitis?
Yes, massage can and does help relieve the pain of Plantar fasciitis, since it is a repetitive strain injury. Deep tissue massage can help:
- Release some of the tension and simulate healing in the area by increasing blood flow. When we increase the blood flow to an area through massage, we can reduce inflammation, stiffness, and fluid build up in the area.
- Improve overall comfort. When we have an injury, we usually experience pain and tightness elsewhere as we put more strain on other muscle groups to take the weight or strain off of the injured area. Massage can help soothe these muscles while also helping improve the condition of the injured area.
- Decrease pain. Plantar fasciitis can be extremely painful and disruptive to quality of life, especially in athletes who live to move. Massage can help stimulate endorphin production which will help decrease anguish athletes often feel from having to rest an injury, and help reduce the physical pain too.
- Relieves stress. Life can be stressful, and Plantar fasciitis can disrupt our lives, whether we have to be on our feet or not. Massage gives us the opportunity to unwind, reduce our cortisol levels (the stress hormone that can cause other issues in the body), and even improve our sleep quality.
- Improve chronic issues. If you’ve been ignoring your Plantar fasciitis for some time, you’ve likely built up some scar tissue and massage can help break this down and give you back a more full range of movement. A study found that in 85% of cases in which massage was the main treatment for Plantar fasciitis, pain was significantly reduced and mobility significiantly increased.
Massage therapists will focus their efforts on tightness in the calf and work down to the foot, helping to losen the muscles and tendons that have to work so hard for us every day. They’ll look for your problem areas and use appropriate techniques to release tension and relieve your pain.
Massage can help relieve tight muscles and tissues, so if you’re a regular runner or regularly experience tightness and stiffness, a regular massage can dramatically improve your performance and quality of life. It’s important to pair regular massages with proper stretching after exercise. To find out more about our massage services in Prescott, Arizona, click here.