In this post blog, we’ll be looking at what is Plantar Fasciitis and how massage can ease the pain and what to do to ease pain at home.

I have treated clients with this condition with Deep Tissue Massage as I find it’s very effective because it loosens the tendons, ligaments and fascia that have become very painfully tight because of overuse and inflammation.   It helps to relax these muscles and put them back into their normal posture.

People with this condition tend to have an increase in their training load and the most common cause of heel pain is Inflammation and sometimes micro tears of the fascia, which is the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot.

What Causes This?

Repetitive Strain Injury to the ligament of the sole of the foot from excessive running, walking, inadequate footwear or jumping injury from landing.  It also can be caused by certain diseases like reactive arthritis Ankylosing Spondylitis.  It’s commonly seen in runners, especially the ones who just started running or who have increased their training load.  It’s also common in Dancers,  people who practice Martial Arts who exercise on hard services with little or no footwear, or in people who are on their feet all day, such as Shop Workers, Nurses and it effects those who are overweight or have shoes that have inadequate support. Active children can also suffer especially if they are playing sports during growth spurts.

Even though it’s a strain injury and linked to overuse and stress of the plantar fascia, it’s also linked with tension and shortening of the muscles that form the Achilles Tendon.  Plantar Fasciitis causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of the heel.  The pain is usually worse with the first few steps after walking and in severe cases, the foot may not be able to support the body weight until the affected area has been stretched and warmed up.

Pain may also be triggered by long periods of standing or when getting up after sitting down for long periods of time and the pain usually gets worse after exercise, but often eases during exercise.  The pain is usually felt on stretching the plantar fascia, along with tightness in the Achilles.

How can Massage Help?

Deep Tissue Massage can help reduce tension around the foot and lower leg.  Hot stones can also be used to enable a deeper massage.  Massage techniques such as Compressions or Trigger Point Soft Tissue Release is very effective in releasing deeper tension within the soft tissue of the foot.

Reflexology can also help relieve some of the pain as pressure point techniques are used to release tension in the foot and relieve heel pain.

How to treat between treatments

To enhance massage therapy benefits in between treatment, you can use a myofascial release ball to help reduce tension and maintain ability.  If the pain is too intense, then use a plastic bottle filled with ice or cold water instead.

Stretching and strengthening different forms of stretching like calf raises, picking up a pencil with your toes and yoga stretches can also help.  Stretching is the next best thing to do whilst the symptoms cause pain.  I know some people have difficulty in keeping still but it’s one of the most effective ways to recover.

Complete rest is best whilst symptoms causes pain.  Sometimes this isn’t practical as we all have things to do, but it will take some discipline but it is important that the foot is rested when inflamed.  There are some yoga asanas both rest and restore the affected areas, so you can rest whilst doing floor and inverted poses.  These poses can give you a boost to your wellbeing and stimulates the immune system which speeds up the recovery time.  It will also bring a relaxed state of mind which will bring about a state of wanting to rest allowing the body to start the healing process.  It is possible to give your body a full workout without standing with asanas. By engaging in Iyengar Yoga with a trained teacher, the practice can be adapted for all ages and levels of ability using props such as blocks, blankets and a chair.

Depending on how severe the pain is and when you start treating it, the problems can be cured in week but if it is chronic long standing pain, then it will help start the recovery.

Always consult your GP before practicing yoga or any exercise workout.  If it is your first time doing yoga, it should be practised under supervision of a qualified teacher.

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