Before we find out whether deep tissue massage can treat this condition, let’s first begin by understanding what plantar fasciitis is. And then we can answer the question: Can deep tissue massage help plantar fasciitis?
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Also referred to as plantar heel pain syndrome, plantar fasciitis is a common muscular problem characterized by pain and discomfort at the soles of the feet. The pain experienced on the soles of the feet is usually quite common after getting on the feet in the morning, or after a period of inactivity. The two main muscles in this part of the foot, the plantar flexor and plantar fascia tend to be tender to palpation and may have a number of myofascial trigger areas.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
This condition is common in middle-aged people and also those that use their feet a lot, such as runners, soldiers and other athletes along with those that suffer from being overweight.
It can be caused by not using the proper footwear, excessive pronation (inward rolling of the feet when walking), and tight Achilles tendons and calf muscles. A deep tissue massage, along with proper stretching, can help alleviate the tight muscles in your calf region.
To find out the answer to the question: Can Deep Tissue Massage Help Plantar Fasciitis? Patients suffering from the condition were recruited for a research project in Israel. The patients, who were identified by a qualified orthopedic surgeon, were recruited into a research program conducted by authors at an outpatient clinic.
To ensure that they would get accurate results, only patients suffering solely from plantar fasciitis were included in the project. Patients with any other relevant underlying conditions or injuries were excluded.
The group of sixty nine patients was then randomly divided into two groups of 36 and 33 members each. The patients in different groups would get one of two treatments; deep tissue massage for the first group, and ultra sound treatment for the second group. Each patient would get up to eight treatment sessions throughout the trial period. Only fifty one percent of the patients completed the project.
The deep tissue massage technique involved in the treatment entailed forceful soft tissue massage mobilization specifically directed at the troubled areas of the posterior calf muscle group.
The ten minute procedure called for the use of thumbs or elbow in applying enough pressure to the problem areas to generate pain. This group would also receive a neural mobilization exercise.
On the other hand, the ultrasound treatment used on the other group was three minutes long. It called for the delivery of an ultrasound on the troubled area of the foot through slow circular movements. This group did not receive any neural mobilization exercise.
Both groups were instructed to conduct stretching exercises on their own focusing on the posterior calf muscles. The stretches, which were described in detail to each group, would be executed the same way by both groups.
So, Can Deep Tissue Massage Help Plantar Fasciitis?
After the trial period was over, the remaining patients in both groups were evaluated, and it was found that those who underwent the deep tissue massage therapy experienced a clinically significant reduction in the pain suffered especially in the morning.
Combining deep tissue massage with stretching may help improve the condition of patients who suffer from plantar fasciitis. It would therefore make sense for clinicians providing care to patients suffering from this condition to integrate this therapy and the stretching exercises in their therapeutic sessions for added relief.
If you are in need of a massage to help with issues you may have with plantar fasciitis, then give us a call to set up an appointment in our convenient Hyde Park Location at 813-254-4777.