Massage Therapy for Foot/Ankle Conditions
Massage therapy can help with foot/ankle pain
Massage therapy is a safe and effective method to treat foot and ankle pain. Often it is all that’s needed to get lasting relief. It can also be a useful addition to physical therapy treatments. If your pain is so severe that you are considering surgery please give massage a try first — it just might do the trick. And if you have already gotten surgery massage can help speed up your recovery.
What is a foot/ankle pain?
Most everyone has at some time had foot or ankle pain. Perhaps you overdid it doing that yard work, or being a weekend warrior playing sports, but now you have a nagging pain. It could be pain in the the sole of your foot, such a plantar fasciitis, arch pain, toe pain, ankle pain, or even extend to your shins, such as shin splits. Chronic foot pain can indeed be very severe, even disabling.
What causes it?
Many factors may be involved in foot/ankle pain. Sometimes it stems directly from trauma or abrupt injury to tissues from a car accident, sports injury, or work injury. Often it slowly creeps up over time due to repetitive stress to the tissues. Standing all day at work, previous injuries that didn’t correctly heal, improper or ill-fitting footwear, incorrect running techniques can all be factors. Poor posture and poor ergonomics are usually factors as well. Over time trigger points can form in the tissues, creating yet another source of pain.
Sometimes the pain itself comes directly from injured tissues. Often the pain is the result of a nerve being compressed by a tight muscle or a distortion of a joint. Left untreated it often gets worse.
How massage therapy can help
A thorough assessment is needed first in order to determine which strategy to use.
Simply relaxing muscles can sometimes help restore correct muscle tone. If tissues are injured lymphatic massage can aid recovery, especially if edema is present, while massaging surrounding tissues can help reduce tension at the injury site.
Releasing the tension in a tight muscle which is compressing a nerve can relieve pain. This might involve using cross fiber friction techniques, deep tissue, longitudinal stokes, PNF stretches, or neuromuscular therapy if trigger points are involved. All of these techniques are also used in an overall strategy to improve posture to avoid future nerve compression as well as helping to restore bio-mechanical balance to distorted joints.