Foot pain is miserable. It can derail your activities, sports, work…life. The causes are many, and can be difficult to unravel. Probably the most commonly known type of foot pain is plantar fasciitis. By definition, plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the connective tissue sheath on the sole of the foot. It is characterized by very sharp pain on the bottom of the foot, most often near the heel or the ball of the foot. A cardinal sign is that the worst pain is experienced while taking the first few steps after sitting for a period of time or the first few steps out of bed in the morning, with pain easing with successive steps. In more advanced cases, this pain is present with every step, all day long! There are some soft tissue causes for plantar fasciitis in the sole of the foot. For example, among others, the muscle that flexes the great toe and the muscle that flexes the rest of the toes of the foot can become tight and pull on their attachments, causing inflammation. These tissues can develop trigger points in them, and those trigger points refer pain to the ball of the foot. Other muscles in the foot have trigger points which refer pain to the heel as well.
The primary cause of plantar fasciitis, however, is actually located, not in the foot, but in the calf. Muscles there attach to the plantar fascia and when they are tight, pull excessively on this tissue, causing friction, inflammation and ultimately pain. Additionally, if there are trigger points in these calf tissues, those trigger points refer pain to…you guessed it…the heel!
Treatment options run the gamut from simple and conservative (such as stretching, ice/heat, rest), to moderate (soft tissue work such as PNMT, wearing a boot at night, steroid injections), to the last resort (surgery). Resolution can take up to 2 years in severe cases, and has a high rate of occurrence if preventive measures are not taken. It is vital that the plantar fasciitis sufferer is aware of the pros and cons of these interventions as well as the documented outcomes of each.
Muddying the waters even further is the fact that there are other conditions that can mimic plantar fasciitis, such as plantar fasciosis and tarsal tunnel syndrome to name a few. These conditions are very similar to plantar fasciitis, but have differing presentations and are caused by different structures/tissues. Arch type, foot mechanics, strength, flexibility, and comorbidities/medical conditions are also factors that need to be assessed as potential contributors to this pesky diagnosis. A thorough and detailed evaluation is necessary to identify the cause of your foot pain from among the many possible causes. We at Precision Massage are uniquely trained and ready to evaluate, identify, and treat your foot pain. We can guide you to the appropriate measures for your particular case, and if soft tissue problems are at play for your case, our PNMT approach is very effective in calming and eradicating this pain, so you can get on with life!
Incorporating massage therapy into a comprehensive treatment plan can significantly alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, promote healing, and restore foot function. By seeking the expertise of a professional massage therapist, individuals can experience pain relief, improved flexibility, and an enhanced quality of life in their journey to combat plantar fasciitis. Give Precision Massage a call today (314) 412-2048 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified therapists.