How to Do Sports Massage for Plantar Fasciitis

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When you got up this morning, did your foot feel like you stepped on a railroad spike? Or did it feel as though it were on fire? You may have plantar fasciitis. Read about how you can rub the problem away!

Things You'll Need

  • Frozen golf ball
  • Frozen tin can
  • Several pens or pencils

Diagnosing the Problem

  • Determine if you have plantar fasciitis. Your foot will feel a sharp, stabbing sensation or a burning sensation near the back of your arch, by your heel. You'll feel it when you get out of bed in the morning and when you stand up after a long rest period--a meeting, a long lunch or a movie, for example. After you've moved around for a few minutes, the pain will go away, only to resume after the next rest. If the pain is more chronic than that, you have something else.

  • Understand why plantar fasciitis does what it does. You have fascia, or a membrane, around every muscle fiber, every bundle of muscle fibers, every individual muscle and every group of muscles in your entire body. The fascia along the plantar surface (the bottom of your foot) are tougher and thicker, and they connect to the bottom of your heel bone. When these plantar fascia get inflamed or slightly torn, the body tries to repair the damage while you're off your feet. When you get back up, though, you put weight on your arch, which pulls on the fascia, which retears the same damaged area. Your body gets used to the stress, so the pain goes away after a few minutes. But the damage is still there!

  • Find a massage therapist to help you if you determine that you have plantar fasciitis, or try the following steps at home.

Massaging the Problem

  • Be prepared for the pain to quickly return when you or a massage therapist touches your plantar fascia. Remember, contact is being made in an area with slight tears. The pain should go away quickly, though.

  • Knead all along the sole of the foot, using deep movements with your thumb. Focus on the area where you feel the muscle join up with the bottom of your heel. This will likely be the most tender area, so start gently. Because the purpose of this sort of massage is to get blood to the injured tissues, you want to keep your focus here.

  • Move to the lower calf and massage gently from the top of the heel all the way up to the middle of the muscle. The reason for this is that if the Achilles tendon and calf muscle are tight, this will affect the movement of the fascia. Loosening up this area will make it easier for you to successfully manipulate the plantar fascia.

  • Move your ankle around in slow circles, and bend your toes back to the point where you feel the stretch. This joint movement will also loosen tissues, helping the fascia become more pliable.

  • Move back to the sole. Again, use deep kneading motions with your thumb to manipulate the tissue. The more you do this, the more your circulation will increase. This will result in more oxygen and other nutrients coming to the damaged tissue and more efficient evacuation of the wastes from metabolic processes.

Home Remedies for Maintenance and Prevention

  • Take out the frozen golf ball once you've finished massaging the area. Roll it along the sole of your foot. If the area in pain is especially large, roll your foot along the frozen tin can, back and forth. This will help reduce inflammation and speed up recovery.

  • Begin muscle therapy once you've recovered somewhat. Put small objects, like pens or pencils, on the floor and pick them up with your toes. Strengthening this muscle area will help keep the fasciitis from recurring.

  • Perform simple stretches, include bending your toes back to the point where you feel the stretch, placing your toes on a curb and stretching downward with your heel--anything to make the muscles on the bottom of your feet stretch. This will help keep your feet from tightening and will strengthen the affected area. Best of luck in your recovery!

  • Photo Credit http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00149
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