Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage
Manual experts for your body. Life is too short for limits.

Friday, September 27, 2013

It is running season, how about a little foot pain??

It's every runner's nightmare:  waking up one morning and feeling a stabbing pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel. Plantar fasciitis affects around 2 million Americans a year, and it's not just limited to runners. Anyone who is bearing extra weight on their feet, who has body-structure problems, is over-training, is pregnant, or has compounding injuries could be at risk. 
If you search the internet you will find loads of boots  and strange supportive gear that help you deal with plantar fasciitis after it appears. Doctors might prescribe pain killers, anti-inflammatories or cortisone injections to help you deal with the pain.  All these things are geared strictly to managing the problem. They are a mere band aid in for something that many people find literally debilitating.  
The plantar fascia is located on the bottom of the foot. It stretches from the heel to the ball of the foot, supporting the muscular arch above as well as interlocking bones. Technically, plantar fasciitis is billed as an inflammatory condition, however it's not that the body is randomly creating inflammation---rather, the inflammation is being created at the heel in order to try and repair the micro tearing that is occurring there, In truth, the problem is actually over-stress or tearing of the delicate foot fascia. and the inflammation is just a symptom. 

So here is the skinny. Understanding this problem for your body is key. The tissue on the bottom of the foot is very delicate when you compare it to the things it's being asked to do. The plantar fascia is not an isolated tissue, it is one small part of a long chain of tissue that runs from the top of the back of your body, down to the tip of your toes.  Picture this tissue as something like how, when you tie a rope around a box, it helps stabilize the box wrapping the whole way around If for some reason the rope were to get shorter, things would become uncomfortable for the box....there would be less and less space until finally the tension would be so great that most likely the rope would begin to fray at one of the corners (just like your heel) in order to create more length. That is exactly what is happening to your foot. The rope is tearing at its weakest point. When you have injuries that thicken the tissue and make it less contractile, or add extra stress to the "rope",  it is at risk for damage. 

By the same token, slackening the 'rope' can take pressure off the weaker tissues. Adding length to your
visual of the 'rope'
hamstrings and calves takes pressure off the bottom of the foot. Treating plantar fascia issues is a two-fold process. You must examine what caused the flair in the first place. Is it too much tension? A structural defect? Training?  Extra weight? Or is it another muscle pulling it tight?  The second step is to create less pressure on that plantar fascia by lengthening the tissue on the posterior chain, which will decrease the inflammatory reaction from the micro tearing. Professionals in sports medicine, physical therapy, massage and orthopedics can help you with the various parts of this painful problem to get you back on track, but I have also seen a good number of people help themselves
 once they truly understand the problem. A good foam roller and a trigger point ball are always a good investment for preventative care if you know you are prone to this malady. Once this is done and the cycle is broken, it is essential you give it time to heal...after all time heals all wounds.  If you are experiencing problems that are diagnosed or that do not resolve, it is very important to visit your primary care physician. 
For more info visit http://www.bodymechanicsnyc.com/
or see our sports massage program in NYC
By Beret Kirkeby

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