By Dee Clement, M Ed, MA
The plantar fascia is a tough thick band. Its 3 fibrous structures help hold up the arch – from the heel to the ball of the foot. A rich blood supply and high degree of flexibility are essential for proper functioning. A minor tear or pull in the fascia can painfully hamper daily activities. Plantar fasciitis is also known as calcaneal spur syndrome. It can mimic the pain of a stone bruise in the heel.
“If heel pain is felt during the first few steps after sleep – I immediately think of a problem with the plantar fascia”, says Dr William Hamilton, Orthopedic Surgeon for the N Y City Ballet.
Some Common Causes
Dr Perry H Julian, foot specialist for the 1996 Olympic games, states, “One of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis is tightness of the calf and achilles tendon.” I agree with Dr. Julian. More importantly muscle tightness is usually traced to trigger points! And, that’s where my approach is focused.
When the foot becomes fatigued the musculature becomes compromised. Muscle support and locomotion are hampered. An environment ripe for the creation of trigger points is generated. Trigger points are knotty, involuntary contractions of muscle bundles. They prevent the host muscle form relaxing and recovering. Trigger points are painful. The foot contains 126 ligaments, muscles and tendons, so there is plenty of hiding places for trigger points. These aggravating little knots can be found in any muscle. In fact, trigger points in the calf often refer pain directly to the bottom of the foot. Therefore, trigger point therapy of the lower leg and foot is essential in the successful management of plantar fasciitis.
|Common Trigger Points of the Foot|
|Common Trigger Points of the Lower Limb|
Leg Management Regimen
I like to start the treatment with the lower leg. I recommend and use a trigger point therapy product called the Intracell Stick. TOf the several different models, I prefer the short length with good flexibility. The Intracell Stick compresses and stretches muscle. It simultaneously moves fluids. The Stick performs trigger point therapy and myofascial release – with virtually no effort.
Step 1 – [about 30 seconds]
Step 2 – [about 45 seconds]
The Foot Regimen
Treatment to the bottom of the foot has always presented a problem for me. In the past I’ve massaged my own feet with coke bottles, frozen cans of juice, golf balls – you name it. Recently I discovered a simple, yet very effective, body tool that absolutely eliminates shortened, tight plantar fascia. It’s called a FootWheel. The FootWheel easily compresses and stretches the complex musculature of the plantar fascia. This process increases circulation and rapidly permits chronically shortened muscles to relax and recover. The 3 treating surfaces of the FootWheel are designed to target the 3 major support muscles of the foot.
Step 3 – [about 45 seconds] Procedure
The foregoing is an amazingly effective procedure to prevent or manage plantar fasciitis. It takes about 3 minutes. Use the techniques at least twice per day – namely before and after a night’s sleep. Use more often if needed. Keep the sessions short and gentle to avoid soreness. Progress is gauged by the way you feel and the number of trigger points you extinguish. Healthy, happy feet are free to tenderness, soreness & pain … even during rollouts.
Good luck and keep on rolling!
REMEMBER, this is an article based on the empirical findings of the author. The suggestions, procedures and ideas are not intended to replace or substitute the medical advice of the readers’ healthcare provider. Please consult your personal healthcare practitioner before adopting any of the suggestions.