19 June 2014

Foot Pain and Massage or Acupuncture

Foot Pain and Massage or Acupuncture

Warmer weather encourages activities such as walking and running; and while exercise has its benefits, it may sometimes produce foot discomfort and pain due to a condition called Plantar Fasciitis.
The plantar fascia is a structure that runs from the front of the heel bone to the ball of the foot and helps to support the longitudinal arch of the foot during walking.

As we age there is a decrease in the fat pad that covers the heel which causes irritation of the small nerves that travel under the plantar fascia.
Obesity or a sudden increase of body weight, a tight Achilles tendon, improper footwear, change in the frequency or the way you walk or run, or an occupation where you stand on your feet for several hours on hard surfaces, may all cause plantar fasciitis.

Though plantar fasciitis may, in rare cases, be caused by a heel spur, the main cause is a chronic inflammation of the fascia as it attaches to the heel.

Symptoms include pain, generally located in the centre or the inner side of the bottom of the foot, mostly close to the heel.

Treatment may include realigning the foot as it goes through the gait cycle by adjusting the footwear or introducing custom made orthotics to support the arch and reduce pressure. Use of ice, for 10 -15 minutes, to decrease the inflammation after prolonged standing or exercise, and the use of heat in the morning to release restrictions may be beneficial.

Stretching of the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon as well as strengthening of the foot and leg muscles may bring relief. Wearing a slightly elevated heel on your shoes or using a heel pad may also help.    

If you have a leg length difference use a heel lift, avoid hard surfaces, and lose weight if you are overweight.
Book an appointment with your massage therapist or acupuncturist to treat the foot pain and discomfort. Paraffin wax, friction therapy and muscle stripping, as well as cupping, are generally used to break up the adhesions and may all be a part of your therapeutic massage session.

This article should not be used to diagnose, it is only for educational purposes. If you have any of these signs or symptoms you should consult your health practitioner for a proper assessment.

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