What is Plantar Fasciitis?
(pronounced “plantar fash-ee-itis”)

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia (the long, flat ligament) along the sole of the foot. The plantar fascia extends from the five toes, through the arch and attaches to the heel. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis may include pain in the heel and arches, or tightness of the calves.

(Click to enlarge image)

Causes
There are many factors which may contribute to plantar fasciitis. These include:

•Abnormal step (sinking towards the inner or outer edge of arches)
•Tight calves and feet
•Improper athletic training
•High, low, or flat arches
•Foot weakness
•Shoes that fit incorrectly
•Prolonged walking, standing, or athletics

Relief
Plantar fasciitis should be diagnosed by a medical professional. After proper evaluation (of client’s foot structure, shoes, activity level, etc.), treatments often include rest, ice, stretching exercises, new shoes, arch supports, or more expensive options such as orthotics, night splints, cortisone injections, or in the worst case, surgery.

If you experience pain in your heel(s) or arches, or have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, regular stretching can help. According to one study, 83% of patients in a stretching program were successfully treated for plantar fasciitis, and 29% of study participants cited stretching as the most helpful treatment.

How Reflexology can Help
Reflexology can help relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis by stretching and relaxing the muscles and ligaments of the foot, as well as the calf. When these areas are relaxed, circulation to the foot and lower leg is improved. As a result, the client experiences less pain and increased ease when walking, standing, and participating in daily activities. My clients have reported feeling partial to full relief from the pain of plantar fasciitis after receiving a series of reflexology sessions.

Resources:
“Plantar Fasciitis,” Heel that Pain. January 31, 2005. [links to http://www.heel-that-pain.com/plantar_fasciitis/plantar_fasciitis/plantar_fasciitis.php] “Plantar Fasciitis is a Common Cause of Heel Pain,” Healthlink/Medical College of Wisconsin. April 12, 2001. [links to http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/987116429.html]

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