Approximately 1% of American adults are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis each year. If you’re one of those people, you know how painful and debilitating the condition can be. Your feet are exposed to a great deal of force every day, and plantar fasciitis can make every step uncomfortable.
If you have tried various plantar fasciitis treatments and still have symptoms, you might want to try the Graston technique plantar fasciitis. This is a specialized type of massage that can be used to target the affected region. It promotes blood flow to the area, encouraging healing and reducing inflammation.
Understanding Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
To understand how the Graston technique for plantar fasciitis works, you need to familiarize yourself with why the painful condition occurs in the first place. If you flex your foot and massage the sole with your fingers, you’ll feel a tightening along the central axis. That’s your plantar fascia, a thick, web-like ribbon of connective tissue that runs from the back of your heel to your toes.
The plantar fascia makes up the arch of your foot. It absorbs shock as your feet make contact with the ground. It also transfers force, allowing you to push off to take another step.
If the fascia isn’t functioning properly, it impacts the biomechanics of your entire foot. Damaged fascia is no longer smooth and pliable. Instead, it becomes sticky and rigid, restricting movement and preventing the muscles from working well. In addition, inflamed or strained ligaments can become weakened, allowing the bones in your foot to shift. The fascia can also pull on the heel, creating a bone spur. Pain from this fascia condition is commonly felt in the heel, arch, or sole.
Treatments for plantar fasciitis involve reducing inflammation and restoring proper function to the foot. Some essential elements of therapy for plantar fasciitis include:
- Identifying areas of restriction in the soft tissue
- Breaking up adhesions in the fascia to allow for better mobility
- Maximizing circulation to the area to aid in healing
- Massaging to loosen soft tissue and allow muscles to function properly
- Alternating rest with stretching and strengthening
- Supporting the foot structure with the proper support
The Graston technique for plantar fasciitis directly addresses the first four points above. It complements rest, stretching, and strengthening by encouraging healing and allowing for optimal function of the structures within the foot.
Graston Technique for Plantar Fasciitis
The Graston technique is also known as instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization. It is a specialized, precise type of manual therapy that uses handheld instruments to perform targeted massage. We use smooth, firm steel tools with rounded edges to identify and detach sticky, thick, scarred areas of soft tissue beneath the skin’s surface.
The practitioner will glide the tools over your skin, feeling for fibrotic areas. Once those regions are identified, the therapist will use the tool to provide a deep pressure massage that attracts the blood flow to the area. The increased circulation promotes healing and reduces inflammation, freeing the tissue and reversing damage to the plantar fascia.
Teaching the Muscles How to Work Properly
Many of the causes of plantar fasciitis also prevent the condition from improving. For example, wearing shoes with a thin, unsupportive sole can inflame the soft tissue. Continuing to wear those shoes exacerbates the problem.
Over time, your bones shift. Your muscles and ligaments must change to keep everything in order. The muscles develop knots as they’re constricted in unusual ways. The ligaments develop adhesions. Your body needs to re-learn how to operate correctly. But it can’t do so if your soft tissue is “stuck.”
We use the Graston technique for plantar fasciitis to restore mobility to the area. Then, we use stretches and exercises to retrain the muscles. Once they are free to move correctly, the muscles can settle into the correct movement patterns, further reduce trauma to the plantar fascia, and allow it to heal.
How to Do the Graston Technique on Yourself
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, we can show you plenty of stretches and exercises that you can do at home to support your healing, relieve pain and walk without pain. However, the Graston technique for plantar fasciitis doesn’t adapt well to self-administration. Instead, a professional understands how to use the specific instruments to manipulate the tissue exactly where you need it.
Although you may feel pain in your foot or heel, adhesions and scar tissue in other areas could be to blame. An experienced provider can address all of the parts of the body that may influence your symptoms, such as a tight calf muscle or inflamed Achilles tendon. The process is unique for each patient and must be adapted for your specific needs.
If you have ever had a professional deep-tissue massage, you probably recognize that achieving the same results at home would be difficult. Besides the fact that you may not identify the areas that need work, you likely can’t apply the amount and depth of pressure that a professional can achieve using the Graston technique on plantar fasciitis.
Therefore, instead of asking how to do the Graston technique on yourself, you might want to ask, “Where can I find a practitioner of the Graston technique near me?” Going to a professional such as Dr. Gregory Doerr gives the Graston technique the best chance of curing your plantar fasciitis.
The typical treatment period is eight to twelve weeks. People who do not perform high-impact activities may recover faster than individuals who run, walk or jog daily.
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services!