April 10, 2018

Plantar Fasciitis

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Kay Warren owns and practices at Carolina Neuromuscular Therapy in North Carolina.

For information on upcoming classes go to www.CarolinaNMT.com or email her at Kay@CarolinaNMT.com


Plantar fasciitis is characterized by pain on the plantar surface (bottom) of the foot. It is usually worse first thing in the morning on getting out of bed, and after prolonged periods of sitting.

Despite the suffix -itis, it is not a true inflammation. Histological studies have shown an absence of inflammatory markers in this condition.

Causes of plantar fasciitis include prior ankle sprains, inadequate arch support, and prolonged periods of standing or weight bearing.

Prior ankle sprains may alter the load mechanics and weight distribution through the ankle. If your tarsals can’t distribute the weight properly the fascial band is pre-tensioned. This causes more pull on the anterior aspect of the calcaneus. This pull is increased when you roll off your toes in walking or running. The excessive pull at the heel can cause micro-avulsion fractures and pain. The techniques shown in this video help to release restrictions in the fascia around the ankle, so that the ankle can move and distribute the weight properly.

There are several other considerations to working with plantar fasciitis.

1) Work on the Gastrocnemius and Soleus.

Relieving tension in the Gastrocnemius and Soleus will relieve tension on the bottom of the foot.

Trigger Point and Counterstrain – to release trigger points in the Gastrocnemius and Soleus

Soft Tissue Release –  to help stretch out and release tightness in the Gastrocnemius and Soleus

2) Work on the plantar surface of the foot.

When working on the plantar surface (bottom) of the foot, deep strokes should go towards the heel. The plantar fascia has a small attachment at the front of the calcaneus and a very broad attachment at the front of the foot. If you do deep strokes away from the heel you create tension on this narrow attachment and can cause irritation and inflammation.

3) Calf and Foot Exercise

This Calf and Foot Exercise is something you can give to your clients to do at home. I recommend doing it at least 20 times when going to bed in the evening, and 20 times before getting out of bed in the morning. Stretching the calf muscles this way helps relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis.

4) Active Isolated Stretching

Stretches for the Gastrocnemius and Soleus may be helpful as well. Here are some stretches that your client can do at home:

Achilles Tendon Stretch
Soleus Stretch
Gastrocnemius Stretch

All stretches should be pain free.