One of the most common causes of chronic heel pain is plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes.
This thick band of tissue can become inflamed causing a sharp pain, most commonly felt when the client stands first thing in the morning
In most cases, the pain subsides once the foot limbers up but then returns after long periods of standing or getting up after having been sitting with the weight off the feet for a prolonged period.
Plantar fasciitis often affects people who regularly run, jog or walk (30 mins plus per day), especially on hard surfaces.
Being overweight and badly fitting footwear, worn-out running shoes, or long periods spent standing whilst wearing high heels may also be a factor.
What's causing the pain and inflammation?
Under normal circumstances, the plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorber to support the arch in your foot.
When the tension on the shock-absorber becomes too great, it can create small tears in the fascia.
Over time, the repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated and inflamed.
Don't ignore it!
Many people tend to try to ignore the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, especially as the pain often subsides after a few minutes of walking around.
What happens in these situations is that people sometimes train themselves to walk slightly differently in order to take the pressure off the heel and thereby minimize the pain until it subsides.
This, in turn, may lead to the development of other foot, knee, hip or back problems.
Remember, in most cases plantar fasciitis can be effectively treated with a combination of trigger point therapy, strengthening, stretching, and taping.
Trigger Point Therapy
Plantar Fasciitis is typically associated with trigger points in the Gastrocnemius, Soleus, Plantaris, and Quadratus Plantae muscles.
Trigger point therapy protocols for treating plantar fasciitis are well known, autonomously reproducible, and are commonly practised by trigger point professionals.
These trigger points are all pretty accessible and clients should be encouraged to work on them at home between treatments as part of a comprehensive treatment program.
This should usually include stretching, strengthening exercises, and often simple lifestyle changes.
About the author
Stuart Hinds is one of Australia’s leading soft tissue therapists, with over 27 years of experience as a practitioner, working with elite sports athletes, supporting Olympic teams, educating and mentoring others as well as running a highly successful clinic in Geelong.
Stuart has a strong following of practitioners across Australia and globally who tap into his expertise as a soft-tissue specialist. He delivers a range of highly sought after seminars across Australia, supported by online videos, webinars and one-on-one mentoring to help support his colleagues to build successful businesses.
In 2016, Stuart was awarded a lifetime membership to Massage & Myotherapy Australia for his significant support and contribution to the industry.
This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell.
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