about plantar fasciitis
If one area, joint or tissue of the body is very tight and restricted, stress and force can often be loaded into another tissue or joint of the body. In patients presenting with plantar fasciitis-like symptoms , quite often, we find that the hamstrings are very tight and restricted potentially taking part of the responsibility behind the dysfunction causing pain at the sole of the foot. This hamstring tension causes a descending knock-on effect down the 'Superficial Back-Line' of the body. The calves are also commonly blamed for this tension but can sometimes be a small part of a much bigger chain of dysfunction. Less commonly, and more interestingly, muscles and tissue as far up as the back and neck can be a large part of the problem.
- Plantar fascia and short toe flexors (under the foot)
- Gastrocnemius / Achilles Tendon (Calf muscles)
- Hamstrings (back side of thigh)
- Sacrotuberous Ligament (ligament attached from the bones you sit on to the sacrum (triangle shaped bone in gluteal region)
- Sacrolumbar fascia / erector spinae muscles (fascia in the lower back and the muscles that travel along the side of the spine)
- Galea Aponeurotica / Scalp Fascia (the fascia that travels up over the head to the eyebrows.
Treatment of the plantar fasciitis and many other conditions does not always have to start in the clinic, in fact when the issue has just started making a few changes and doing some self-help exercises can make a huge difference. Be careful though, as a 'heel spur' can present pain similair to plantar fasciitis but should be looked into by a doctor. It is always best to get a clinical opinion regarding your condition before self-treatment.
If the issue is acute (just started) using ice can help reduce the heat and inflammation which causes pain through swelling. Icing the foot for 15 minutes at a time is recommended and then resting for 30 minutes before repeating this cycle two, three or even four times. As seen in the picture on the right, you can freeze water in a round bottle fit into to the contour of the foot. Rolling the bottle back and forth also creates a nice massage sensation. Changing footwear can make a big difference too. Changing footwear regularly is recommended and seeing a specialist or podiatrist regarding the mechanics of your foot is always a good option, we have a podiatrist in the studio and she is great. An anti-inflammatory diet can also help, coffee is often the first thing suggested to be cut-back or stopped completely.
In the clinic we can do a lot of things to help plantar fasciitis and although we like to consider the bigger picture, we always do everything we can to initially reduce the pain in the local area. We discover our patients daily and sporting movement patterns through verbal assessment to make important changes to help reduce their pain and inflammation.
Taping up the foot is an amazing way to off-load the pressure going through the fascia every time you take a step whilst walking, we do this often to ease people back into normal movement. We can also manipulate the fascia and stretch other related tissues, as mentioned above, to reduce the amount of tension and pressure produced on the sole of the foot. The clinical changes we make can be very relieving but the benefits of stretching the tissues once does not last very long. With this in mind we send our patients way with effective rehabilitation programmes with stretching, strengthening and corrective exercises.
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