How to help heal Plantar Fasciitis

Foot massage can relieve foot pain.

Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition that affects the sole and arch of the foot.
Last month I talked a little about   Plantar Fasciitis and that it can be caused by standing on your feet for too long or by sports like biking or pickleball for example or a fallen arch are common. Now what can we do to help this condition? 
     Massage and stretching are two of the best treatments for Plantar Fasciitis according to Dr. Adam Hotchkiss, DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) . Massage can help stretch the plantar fascia and increase blood flow to the area, which can promote healing.  Stretches for the calves-the gastrocnemius and soleus are most beneficial. Being a certified Reflexologist I can help with the foot massage. It can be a part of a 60–90-minute massage or we can spend an entire 60 minutes on the feet.  I can also show you some good stretches for the calves too. Massage tools that you can use at home are good treatments for in between massages.  I have found that a tennis ball or something the size of a superball-remember those?- can be helpful.  Just roll them on the bottom of your foot where it is sensitive while you are sitting, just to point that it feels good. Don’t make it hurt. No pain no gain is not helpful.  Plantar Fasciitis does take longer than we expect to heal, sometimes up to 6 months, but it does heal. Give me a call if this is something that you are struggling with.  I would be happy to be a part of your healing process. 303-797-6656.

       

What causes Plantar Fasciitis and foot pain?

I have had a few people coming in lately with foot pain.  Whether it from a strain from activities-cycling, pickleball or other sports or truly from Plantar Fasciitis, foot pain is painful and gets in the way of our feeling comfortable doing daily activities.
     There are a few things that can contribute to foot pain.  Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of pain on the bottom surface of the foot. It is most common with athletes and others who spend long hours on their feet.  It can be aggravated by a flat foot or excessive high arch, also sometimes in those whose arch has fallen.  The plantar fascia functions primarily as a spring to maintain the foot’s arch. Plantar Fasciitis is usually considered an inflammatory condition involving the attachment sites on the heel. The things that can trigger Plantar Fasciitis include sudden weight gain as in pregnancy, a sudden different use of the feet as in starting a new sport, or very tight calf muscles.
     Other reasons for foot pain can be nerve entrapment in the foot similar to Carpal Tunnel can cause pain that can be mistaken for Plantar Fasciitis.  Also, there can be Trigger Points (knots) in the muscles on the bottom of the foot. In conclusion foot pain can be caused by issues in the fascia, impingement of the nerves or Trigger Points in the muscles.  
Next month I’ll talk a little about what you can do about this and how massage can help.

ROTATOR CUFF ISSUES-?WHERE IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO

 I have had several clients in lately with shoulder pain, so I thought I would talk a little about the rotator cuff. The four muscles that we consider rotator cuff muscles have the job of holding the shoulder joint and the scapula in place and has several important functions including the motion and strength of the shoulder. In anatomy, the rotator cuff is a group of muscles and their tendons that act to stabilize the shoulder and allow for its extensive range of motion. Of the seven scapulohumeral muscles, four make up the rotator cuff. The four muscles are the supraspinatus muscle, the infraspinatus muscle, teres minor muscle, and the subscapularis muscle. Rotator cuff tears present themselves as: a dull ache in the shoulder, pain when lifting the hand, like when combing the hair, pain that disturbs sleep, pain in the shoulder along with weakness. If you have any of these symptoms the first thing you should do is see your doctor.  Small tears in the rotator cuff muscles do take a long time to heal and large tears may require surgery.  What causes tears? It can be an injury such as a fall where you catch your fall with your hand or arm.  Or it can be caused by repetitive activities or even aging with the degeneration of the tissues.  How can massage help?  Only after a doctor has made sure that the rotator cuff issues do not require surgery should you see a massage therapist.  Massage can help reduce inflammation and help loosen muscles if the problem is an imbalance of the muscles.  If surgery was required, massage can help with scar tissue once it has healed, but can also relieve the pain of the surrounding supporting muscles from having to be in a sling and holding positions during that recovery period.  So, don’t be afraid to get massage, just make sure you inform your therapist as to where you are in your healing process and make sure you get permission from your doctor.

NEUROMUSCULAR TRIGGER POINTS-CAUSES

  I have been taking some online classes on neuromuscular therapy for Trigger Points (knots).  What can cause Trigger Point?  There are a lot of reasons. 
-Strains, overuse, trauma
-Prolonged immobilization (like working in front of a computer for long periods of time)
-Cold, damp, drafty conditions (who would have thought)
-biochemical imbalances including dehydration
-fevered illnesses
-allergies and sensitivities (like food allergies)
-nutritional deficiencies, especially Vitamin C, B, magnesium, iron (this can also be the cause of muscle spasms)
-low oxygenation of tissues
Who would have thought that all these things could cause Trigger Points?  Massage is something that can help loosen or release these trigger points and Active Trigger Points can refer to different parts of the body other than where the pressure is being applied.  But as you can see there are other things you can do at home to help, like staying hydrated, taking vitamins and stretches.  When you come in for massage, I can help you find what muscles have trigger points and I will send you home with some stretches to help continue with releasing trigger points.

     

fibromyalia study results

 As some of you know or remember, I spent a few years doing a study on whether cupping would help those with fibromyalgia feel better.  I ended the study early because of -well ……….COVID.   So, I thought it was time to look at the results, since I don’t believe I will really be able to finish it……COVID.   Even though I haven’t professionally tabulated all the results, I can tell you what I believe I found. I had 8 clients with fibromyalgia that had cupping mostly on their back and 3 clients that just had massage without cupping on upper body.  We did these sessions every two weeks for 5 sessions. They filled out a questionnaire about how they felt the week after the massage: how they slept, whether they felt fatigued, stiff, anxious, depressed, headaches, memory loss, pain, were some of the questions addressed.  And how long the positive or negative affects lasted.  Some of those questioned felt positive results were felt for 1 1/2 weeks, 3 days or not at all or it changed week to week.  Those who chose not to do the cupping were very sensitive to deep touch. 
     Like I said, this is not professionally tabulated results especially since the study is not going to be finished, but it seems that the positive effects differed from person to person.  Those who benefitted from cupping really loved it and looked forward to their sessions and those who didn’t get as much long-lasting benefits still enjoyed the cupping or maybe they just liked getting massage.  Those who didn’t want to get the cupping received lighter massage and benefitted from the relaxing aspect of massage. 
     Fibromyalgia is so different for each person.  It can include fatigue, muscle pain, and stiffness, depression and anxiety, headaches and memory loss or brain clouds and can change from day to day.  Each person can have slightly different symptoms.  I did find it interesting that some wanted very deep pressure and a lot of cupping and some could only handle light pressure and cupping was out of the question.   So, my conclusion is– cupping can help some people with fibromyalgia get some pain relief, while others do better with light touch and cupping would not benefit them at all.

Managing upper back pain

 Upper back pain is common-especially for people who spend long hours in front of a desk or computer screen.  This upper and mid back pain seems to be more common in women than in men, although many men working in front of computers will have these issues also.  I’ve been seeing a lot of this in the last few years due to so much work going entirely to in front of computers and the use lately of zoom. 
     Massage and stretching can help this out.  In massage I would start out with long more superficial stokes, then deeper strokes to locate the trigger points.  The trigger points are commonly in the deeper muscles.  Mid and upper back have many muscles that are involved in movement including the superficial fibers of the Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi, and the deeper fibers of the Rhomboids and Levator Scapula, and the even deeper fibers of the Serratus Posterior, Erector Spinae, Multifidus, and Rotatores along the spine.  Sometimes I find CBD salve helps loosen the superficial fibers.  I have also learned a few new active engagement techniques in which you would actively move your arm while I put pressure on the trigger point  to help reduce tension.  Also, at home you could use a tennis ball or two in a sock placed on either side of the spine while you lay on your back, along with stretches that I can show you for the muscles that are affected.  Upper and mid back pain is something that is effectively managed through regular massage, and stretches.

Sciatica or piriformis syndrome?

They both have similar symptoms.  Most commonly patients describe acute tenderness in the back of the glutes, pain down the back of the thigh, calf and foot.  Pain when walking upstairs, increased pain after sitting for prolonged periods of time and reduced range of motion.  
     What is the difference?  Both Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome impinge on the sciatic nerve which then sends the brain the message of pain.  Where the sciatic nerve and by what is what the difference is.  The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and is formed by 5 nerve roots from the lower spine and deep in the buttocks and down the back of the thigh and all the way down to the heel.  True sciatica is an impingement of the nerve at the spine by things like herniated disks, stenosis of the spine, instability of the vertebra.  Piriformis Syndrome is an impingement of the sciatic nerve by a tight Piriformis muscle, which is located under the Glutes.  You can test this with the straight leg test.  Lay on your back with legs straight.  Lift one leg. If the lifting of the leg causes pain in the lifted leg then it most likely is sciatica and you should consult a doctor.  If it doesn’t, then good possibility it is Piriformis Syndrome. Piriformis Syndrome is easier to alleviate by loosening the Piriformis muscles.  That can be done in several ways.  A good massage targeting that muscle and stretches for the hips, laying on a tennis ball pushing on the Piriformis.  You will know where to put it, the muscle will be tender and will most likely give you a hurt so good feeling.  During a massage I can help loosen the Piriformis and give you some other stretches and suggestions to help alleviate the painful feeling of sciatica.  

     

UPPER AND MID BACK PAIN

MANAGING UPPER BACK PAIN

     Upper back pain is common-especially for people who spend long hours in front of a desk or computer screen.  This upper and mid back pain seems to be more common in women than in men, although many men working in front of computers will have these issues also.  I’ve been seeing a lot of this in the last few years due to so much work going entirely to in front of computers and the use lately of zoom. 
     Massage and stretching can help this out.  In massage I would start out with long more superficial stokes, then deeper strokes to locate the trigger points.  The trigger points are commonly in the deeper muscles.  Mid and upper back have many muscles that are involved in movement including the superficial fibers of the Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi, and the deeper fibers of the Rhomboids and Levator Scapula, and the even deeper fibers of the Serratus Posterior, Erector Spinae, Multifidus, and Rotatores along the spine.  Sometimes I find CBD salve helps loosen the superficial fibers.  I have also learned a few new active engagement techniques in which you would actively move your arm while I put pressure on the trigger point  to help reduce tension.  Also, at home you could use a tennis ball or two in a sock placed on either side of the spine while you lay on your back, along with stretches that I can show you for the muscles that are affected.  Upper and mid back pain is something that is effectively managed through regular massage, and stretches

more about feet

 Did you know that each foot has 26 bones? Our feet contain 25% of the bones in our body.  Each foot also has 33 joints and 14 toe joints, over 100 muscle/tendon units, over 100 ligaments and 2 ankle joints.  That’s a lot for a smaller body part!  When walking, each time your heel lifts off the ground your toes carry one half of your body weight.  It is rare that both feet are the same, usually one is a little larger than the other.  I have been doing a lot of research on feet, achilles tendon, and toes. I’ve been doing friction, myofacial massage, stretching and strengthening on my own achilles, toes, feet, and calves. (As much as physically possible}  
     Foot pain can have many causes.  With over 100 muscles and the amount of time and weight we put on our feet you can imagine how important working, healthy feet are.  I have found with my own feet that the toes on one of my feet are stronger and more flexible than the other, so I am working on some stretching and strengthening for the toes.  I have also found that my calves are really tight lately, and that is affecting the achilles, so I am doing stretching for the calves.  If you are having pain, tightness or stiffness, let me use some of the techniques that have been helping me.  I can use the friction, myofacial and massage techniques I have been studying and using.  And I can also suggest some of the stretching, and strengthening exercises for you to do at home.  

foot pain

 I think I shared with you about the tendinitis I have been having and working on to get better.  With my background in Reflexology I understand the pressure points of the foot and can do some of that on myself, although its a lot easier to do on someone else.   I just took a few online classes to better understand the bones and the tendons of the feet.  Foot strains and sprains are more common than we think.  Of course, we all think of taking a fall or twisting our ankle playing sports.  But we can have chronic pain in our feet from a fallen arch or repetitive action that makes our gait off normal.  Some simple things you can do to improve your feet, {which you know will also improve your knees and your hips,} check to make sure you have sturdy shoes that don’t bend and are not too small for your foot and that your toes have enough room.  Get inserts if your arches have fallen,  and wear shoes indoors, don’t go barefoot.  I’ve always liked Murray’s Shoes for their good advise and inserts.  There are also some good stretches that I have learned that have benefitted me and I have learned some massage techniques that I use on myself and others that help me feel better.  Ask me about them.  And if you are having foot or ankle pain, although if you have just sprained an ankle you should see your Dr. first,  there is a lot that massage can do you help you.