Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition which is caused by inflammation of the thick tissue at the bottom of the foot, known as the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia connects the heel bone to the toes and supports the arch of the foot as well as acting as a shock absorber. Plantar fasciitis feels like a sharp, stabbing or a burning sensation at the back of the arch of the foot, or under the heel, especially after rest. Most people feel it keenly after a nights sleep and after a long period of inactivity, such as office work. After moving around for a few minutes the pain usually disappears but only to return after the next rest. Membranes (or fascia) surround every muscle fibre in the body and are even tougher and thicker at the bottom of the foot - when these get damaged or slightly torn the body tries to heal the area when you are off your feet. The pain is felt after periods of rest because returning to your feet can pull on the fascia and re-tear the damaged area. Your body gets used to this stress and so the pain disappears after a few minutes - but the damage to the bottom of the foot is still there!
This week I am going to continue to look at medical conditions which benefit from regular massage therapy. Frozen shoulder is a debilitating condition which causes a considerable amount of pain and affects the movement in the shoulder joint; in severe cases you may not be able to move the shoulder at all. It is a fairly common condition which affects about 1 in 20, the most common age range to be affected is between 40 and 60 years, and women are more likely to suffer with frozen shoulder than men.
Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis or shoulder contracture and is a disorder of the shoulder capsule; the connective tissue surrounding the joint of the shoulder becomes stiff and inflamed which restricts motion and causes chronic pain. Unfortunately this disabling condition usually lasts a long time, some people get better over 18-24 months but for some the condition lasts several years. Patients report that the pain is worse at night, in colder weather and sudden jerky movements can cause onset of acute pain and cramps which last several minutes.
Sciatica is the name given to pain caused by compression and irritation of the sciatic nerves. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and runs from the pelvis down both the left and right side of the buttocks, down the legs and to the feet. The pain caused by this compression and irritation manifests itself in the lower back, buttock and various parts of the leg or foot. As well as the pain, which can sometimes be quite severe, some people may suffer from muscle weakness, tingling (pins and needles) and difficulty controlling or moving the leg. Shooting pains from the leg may make it difficult to stand up. Typically, sciatica is felt down one side of the body, lasting from a few days or for months. Sciatic pain lasting more than 6 weeks is considered to be persistent, or chronic, sciatica.
You may have started your exercise routine with gusto after the Christmas break, only to be stopped by this awful weather! Be sure to avoid common running and other injuries caused by exercise when you resume your weekly routine or when you are at the gym. ‘Runners knee’ is a very common sporting injury which is said to affect one in four physically active people who participate in a variety of exercise from basketball to dance and from skiing to cycling. There are two conditions which are referred to as ‘runner’s knee’; patellofemural pain syndrome (PFPS) and iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS).
Happy new year to you all - and welcome back to my blog! I am looking forward to updating you with informative posts twice monthly during 2013. I very much hope you enjoy the topics which will keep you up to speed with what is going on in the massage world as well as offering tips, advice and how massage can benefit you, or someone you know.
I hope you all had a wonderful festive season, a time of family, joy and usually a little too much merriment. Over-doing it in December is common, both with alcohol and rich, fatty foods - so much so, that many people resolve to become healthier during the following year. Some of you may have even decided to abstain from alcohol altogether in January or started a new healthy regime which involves changing your diet and starting some exercise. How can massage help you keep these resolutions and become part of your routine to maintain a healthy, balanced body?