Plantar fasciitis is a chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia tissue on the bottom of your foot. Many people complain of sharp pain in the heel that is worse in the morning after waking up. It is commonly less painful while someone is moving around but returns after resting.
If you have plantar fasciitis when you’ll know how debilitating it can be. When considering the various treatment options, you may want to know can sports massage can help plantar fasciitis?
It has been known to speed up recovery but how does sports massage work, and what can you expect from your sessions? And what other treatment options are available? Read on to find out!
Can Sports Massage Help Plantar Fasciitis?
Sports massage can help manage the pain that comes with plantar fasciitis. Sometimes plantar fasciitis therapy options can be invasive and require surgery, but in many cases, you can avoid surgery by incorporating massage techniques into your treatment plans.
Sports massage helps plantar fasciitis by breaking down scar tissue and improving blood flow. At the same time, this massage type improves lymphatic circulation, facilitating the efficient removal of waste tissue and increasing mobility due to reduced pain levels.
Random controlled trials that used massage therapy as the primary treatment for plantar fasciitis showed significant pain reduction and mobility increase. It has also been found that a deep tissue massage combined with routine stretching is more effective at managing pain than ultrasound treatments and stretching.
In this treatment method, a sports massage therapist applies concentrated finger pressure on the muscle tissues around your Achilles tendon, calf, or other muscles connected to the fascia. Stimulating these areas breaks up the scar tissue and increases blood flow.
Massaging the surrounding tendons may also help to decrease tension in other parts of the body’s connective tissues. Many people usually report feeling better after a deep tissue massage. Having a massage twice a week helps to increase mobility and significantly reduce pain.
Soon after treatment, you’ll be able to resort back to having doing the things you love without those stabbing pains. There is no doubt that sports message can help plantar fasciitis.
What to Expect in a Sports Plantar Fasciitis Massage Session
First, your sports massage therapist will physically examine you. They will also discuss with you the history of the symptoms. The physiotherapist will probably observe how you walk, noting any high or flat arch, calf muscle flexibility, and what movements are likely to increase your pain.
They may use an ultrasound machine to look at the plantar fascia for signs of thickening or tearing. Your sports massage therapist will implement the treatment based on your specific assessment and pain tolerance.
The therapist will provide hands-on massage and self-management programs to assist you in managing the symptoms at home. Foot taping, stretching, and orthotics may also be part of the plantar fasciitis treatment approach.
Your physiotherapist will most likely use the following sports massage techniques to treat plantar fasciitis:
Positional Release – It’s a specialized technique commonly used for treating muscle spasms and chronic pain. These pain can be in the tendons, ligaments, and joints, and are helped by precise manipulation. The positional release can effectively relax hyperactive muscles and achieve optimal comfort.
Soft Tissue Release (STR) – Your physiotherapist may use STR to restore normal muscle flexibility. It involves passive or active stretching of the muscles and tissues through precise pressure.
Fascial Release – This involves gentle and slow kneading on the plantar fascia to release the connective tissues surrounding the muscles. That helps decrease pain and gradually restore normal muscle function.
Neuromuscular Technique – This is soft tissue manipulation using digital pressure and friction to release strain areas in a muscle. The neuromuscular technique targets trigger points that appear to cause chronic muscular pain and tension.
Transverse Friction Massage in Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
Transverse friction massage can help relieve pain associated with plantar fasciitis by strengthening the foot and reducing the chances of injury reoccurring.
A sports massage therapist will apply rapid horizontal movements with their hands to put pressure on specific areas of the Achilles tendon, outer calf muscle, and sole below the heel. Though this might be a quick 10-15 minutes session, the length of subsequent sessions depends on fascia mobility and pain tolerance.
So, if you have not found relief from your plantar fasciitis, it may be time to change tactics. Research has shown that sports massage can help break down the scar tissue that builds up in the plantar fascia and improve mobility associated with pain reduction.
There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment plan for plantar fasciitis, but you and your physiotherapist can work together to identify what works best for you.
Your health provider may recommend surgery if you’re in great pain. You should consider surgery as an option if:
- If you have had plantar fasciitis symptoms for at least nine months
- You have been undergoing plantar fasciitis treatments such as exercises, stretches, and sports massages, and there has been little to no improvement
- You understand and accept the risks of the surgery
How Long Does Plantar Fasciitis Last?
Generally speaking, this condition can last anywhere from a few weeks to six months but in severe cases, it can last for years. If you never give it a chance to heal, then it will. This is why it’s important to take on lifestyle advice along with treatment options.
Mild cases of plantar fasciitis may not require any medical attention and can resolve on their own within a few weeks. However, more severe cases may require professional medical attention and a longer recovery period.
Treatment for plantar fasciitis varies depending on severity but generally includes physical therapy, pain-relieving medications, orthotics, rest, and in extreme cases, surgery. Overall, proper diagnosis and treatment will determine how long it takes for someone suffering from plantar fasciitis to get back on their feet.
Sports massage is great at alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis. Not only that but it will help to speed up recovery time, improve your mobility, and help to prevent you from having surgery.
Your sports massage therapist may use a combination of different sports massage techniques to treat plantar fasciitis. These include positional release, STR, fascial release, and neuromuscular technique. All you need to do now is book in with a sports massage provider and look forward to the benefits.