Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammatory condition that can benefit greatly from massage. It is caused by repeated microscopic injuries to the connective tissue that connects your heel bone (calcaneus) to the first bones of each of your toes.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Most heel pain is diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. More than 2 million cases are reported each year. That number only includes people who seek actually seek treatment.
Early treatment of plantar fasciitis can stop the “second stage” development of a condition known as Plantar Fasciosis.
The plantar fascia is a tough band of connective tissue that supports your arch along the length of your foot. This tissue is subjected to tremendous force on a nearly constant basis. While children may get plantar fasciitis, it is most commonly seen in adults who have lost some elasticity.
When the plantar fascia is overused or stressed, its fibers tend to fray or sustain micro-tears. Over time, these tears become painful, especially in the morning or after prolonged periods of inactivity.
The pain often subsides after several steps, but can reappear after standing, walking, or running. The pain is often described as a deep bruise in the arch of the foot or as a “bruised heel.”
Weight and Other Contributing Factors
- Being overweight can make you more prone to developing plantar fasciitis, because your weight directly affects the amount of force sustained with each step you take.
- Shoes without good arch support can subject these tissues to more force.
- Flat feet
- Tight calf muscles, especially in runners, cyclists, and people who often drive in stop and go traffic.
Removing the factors that cause plantar fasciitis are often the best treatments.
- Losing weight to reduce the force applied to your feet when you walk, stand, or run.
- Warming and massaging your foot before getting out of bed each morning.
- Compression socks or specially designed devices you wear while you sleep that help stretch the plantar fascia.
- Shoe inserts or orthotic devices that provide proper support to the arch of your foot.
- Avoid walking barefoot while experiencing pain.
- Take a break from high-impact activities like jogging, running, or jumping.
Massage for Plantar Fasciitis
Direct massage to the bottom of the foot, such as reflexology, can help realign frayed tissues. Deep Tissue massage focused on the muscles of the lower leg that allow flexion and extension of the toes can lessen the stress on the plantar fascia. Range of motion maneuvers of the toes, foot, and ankle will also decrease pain.