What is Plantar Fasciitis?
This is a condition involving pain at the heel and ball of the foot, and inflammation of the plantar fascia, which stretches from the calcaneus (heel) to the metatarsals (at the ball of the foot). Plantar Fasciitis is classified as an overuse injury with predisposing factors of poor biomechanics (the way your body moves and work with exercise or general movement), shortened and tight calf muscles, improper foot wear or weight gain. Although 95% of all heel pain is diagnosed as Plantar Fasciitis, it is important to see your doctor for a diagnosis if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned below. Some of the more predominant signs and symptoms of this condition include:
• a sharp “bruised” feeling just in front of the heel or deep in the arch of foot
• acute pain with the first few steps after prolonged rest
• pain with prolonged standing, walking or running
• pain that subsides slightly after about 30 minutes but after 3-4 hours of prolonged activity becomes acute pain
How can Massage help?
Massage can release tight calf muscles that could be placing added stress on the plantar fascia. It can also help positively affect the development of scar tissue at any place where the fascia has torn. As well it can also help with general relaxation and pain management.
What can you do to prevent or manage Plantar Fasciitis?
Wear good supportive footwear when walking, running, or standing, stretch out calf and leg muscles, as well as the muscles in your feet, and try to improve your body biomechanics while walking, standing, and in all daily activities by using correct posture. An ice pack works wonders to help counteract the pain of plantar fasciitis, place your feet on an ice pack or bag of frozen peas for 5-10 minutes (if you have a freezer at your workplace, take an icepack in and leave it there, putting your feet on ice while having your lunch or break will make a big difference). To help with the muscles in your arch, try rolling a super bouncy ball, or other small firm ball, under your foot (the ones from old navy are the perfect size).
What are Shin Splints?
Shin splints are a lower leg problem involving some combination of an injury to the anterior or posterior tibialis muscles and possibly hairline fractures of the tibia (shinbone). Overuse or misalignment in the ankle usually causes shin splints, but they can also be caused by long-standing, overtraining, poor technique, running on hard surfaces, and/or poor footwear. The location of shin splint pain depends on the muscles that are affected. It is usually located along the front and outside of the shin (anterior tibialis) but can also occur along the inside and back of the shin (posterior tibialis). It is more acute when the affected muscles is used. If you are at all unsure as to why your shins or calves are painful please see your doctor to rule out a more serious condition or injury.
How can Massage help?
Stretching helps, but it is often difficult to get a full stretch of the shin muscles. This is where massage comes in, as with certain techniques the shin muscles can experience a long luxurious stretch. Massage also increases the circulation to the area so there is more blood and nutrients to help promote tissue rejuvenation. Massage is an excellent way to prevent shin splints from getting any worse and to prevent other complications from arising.
How can you help prevent or manage Shin Splints?
It is important to wear good supportive shoes when doing any activity. If you are in the acute stage of injury apply ice and rest. When you do return to activity it is important that you do so gradually so as not to cause re-injury. Pre-activity heat to the calf and shin as well as self massage and stretching can also be helpful.
I hope that this information will help you to better manage and prevent your foot or shin pain. Don't let foot or shin pain stop you in your tracks, take action and do something about it!