The email sat in my inbox for a week. My first answer was "Of course! Make an appointment and I can help!" because I have a lot of techniques in my bag of tricks to loosen up tight calves and hamstrings, which are a common culprit of foot and heel pain. But I didn't respond right away. It's more complicated than that.
The plantar fascia is a tough band of connective tissue that runs from the back of the heel to the toes. In about 10% of the population, the tissue in this area becomes inflamed because of microtears in the fascia. It can happen to anyone and it happened to me!
As a massage therapist who works with myofascial issues and injuries, I expected that I could troubleshoot my own body the way I work with my massage clients. I expected I could talk to other massage therapist friends and they could help me troubleshoot. It didn't work. The pain continued. The pain was so bad that once I sat down at the end of the day, I didn't want to get up because it was so painful to take those first few steps. I felt like a decrepit old woman! I felt betrayed by my body and my own profession!
Here's what ultimately worked to greatly decrease my plantar fascia pain: I worked with a talented massage therapist with advanced myofascial training a handful of times. She suggested stretches and a strengthening exercise for my ankles and I did them every day. I received weekly acupuncture for 2-3 months. I took a break from tap dancing and returned to yoga and lap swimming. I bought 2 different pairs of shoes that allow my toes to spread and provide decent arch support and I alternate which ones I wear to work. I drink more water. I can say that I am 90% improved as of today. My feet still ache at the end of a long, busy day, but nowhere near the pain that I was having.
Here's what I learned: There is no single cause and there is no single solution for plantar fasciitis. Yes, massage therapy can help with plantar fascia pain. I can be part of the solution for you, but I am not the be-all and end-all solution. YOU are part of the solution to your own plantar fasciitis. An acupuncturist may be part of the solution. Different footwear may be part of the solution. Drinking more water may be part of the solution. Ultimately, YOU have to commit to finding the combination of things that work for your body and then following through on those things.
I'd love to be part of your solution.