Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia (the connective tissue on the sole of your foot). The main symptom is pain in the heel and sole of foot when walking. It’s always worse first thing in the morning or after you have been sitting for a while but as you walk on it the pain eases off a little.
What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
A lot of the time no cause can be found. It is more common in women and between the ages of 40-60. However some of the causes are:
- Lack of flexibility in the muscles of the lower leg as these pull on the tendons that attach to the sole of the foot
- Footwear that has no foot support. For example flip flops or high heels
- Being overweight as this places extra stress on the feet
- Over exercising especially high impact sports like running
- Having a high foot arch
- Jobs involving lots of standing – e.g. shop assistant
If you are in pain it’s best to check with your doctor in case you need medical treatment. Here are some simple self help measures you can try yourself:
- Freeze a bottle of water and roll your foot on it for a few minutes. The rolling action will gently massage your foot and the ice will help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Wear good supportive footwear
- Orthotics (shoe inserts) can help support your foot and reduce pain
- Use a golf ball or foot roller to massage your foot
- Do plenty of stretches on the calves as tight calves pull on the plantar fascia. Click here for some easy calf stretches – aim to do them twice a day.
- Look at your activity levels. Have you suddenly increased the amount of time you are on your feet or started doing high impact sports like running?
How can massage help?
Usually if a client comes with plantar fasciitis I take a quick medical history to check you are suitable for massage. I then carry out some checks on your posture and flexibility – for example I will check how flexible your gastrocnemius and soleus (muscles in the calves) are. I will ask a little about your lifestyle – for example what your hobbies are and if you play any sports to see if there is anything that might be contributing to the pain.
Treatment would be tailored to you but would likely involve a deep tissue massage and stretches to the calves. This is essential as although you probably don’t feel pain in the calves tight calves contribute a lot to the pain by pulling on the connective tissue around the heel and sole of foot. Deep tissue massage and stretches to these muscles will help to reduce this.
I would also massage and stretch out the muscles and tissue in the soles of the feet.
Finally I might give some advice to help you recover which could include changing your activity levels or getting new shoes or insoles.
Here are a couple of products I find useful:
The aim of treatment will be to help you get out of pain as quickly as possible so you can return to your normal activity again.
About Relax Therapies
Anna is an award winning massage therapist having won the top 3 best rated award 3 years in a row.
She is a qualified in Sports Therapy and Massage, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage and Aromatherapy.
Have questions? Please contact me