Plantar Fasciitis

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Anatomical diagrams illustrating the component...

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Do you or someone you know have foot or heel pain.  The plantar fascia is a structure in the base of the foot that helps to support the foots natural arch.  This fascia is a connective tissue that originates at the calcaneus (the heel bone) and moves towards the toes inserting on the metatarsal heads (the metatarsals are the longest bones in the foot).

The plantar fascia can become inflamed for a number of reasons, but the two biggest culprits are increased activity and amount of weight-bearing.  Both of these result in the fascia becoming over worked.

Generally the fascia becomes thickened and puts increased stresses at the origin at the calcaneus.  Most people with plantar fasciitis feel that the pain is greater in the morning than the evening due to the tissues tightening up during sleep.

Treatment for this condition consists of soft tissue mobilization, strengthening of the foot intrinsic musculature, stretching of the lower leg and foot, ultra sound along the sole of the foot, and ice massage.  Sometimes it is necessary to use an orthotic in your shoe to redistribute the pressure within your foot. Your physical therapist at Advantage Physical Therapy can help cure this foot pain with regular treatment.

Self treatment will help control the symptoms and you can perform some of the following:

  • Calf Stretch including both the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

  •  Foot Stretch for the intrinsic muscles of the foot.
  • Self Ice Massage for both the icing and massage component of the treatment:

Fill a water bottle three-quarters of the way and freeze it.  when it is frozen, roll the bottle under your foot for 2-3 minutes.

 

Remember to set up an appointment with your physical therapist to help heal this injury faster.

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The Benefits of Hamstring Mobility

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Muscles of the gluteal and posterior femoral r...

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We have all heard the expression that someone “pulled a hammy.”  The hamstring muscles in the back of the upper leg are prone to tightness in today’s society.  In the Seattle area there are so many tech and tech related jobs which require a lot of time spent at a desk or computer.  When you add poor posture to sitting with your knees bent, people tend to spend a majority of the day with the muscles of the hamstring in a shortened position. Postural deficits and core weakness also contribute to hamstring tightness.  The hamstrings will tighten to add stability to the lumbar spine.

 

The hamstring is made up of 3 muscles in the posterior thigh:

 

  • semimembranosus
  • semitendonosus
  • biceps femoris

 

The muscles of the hamstring cross two joints and therefore act upon both the hip and the knee.  The hamstring is a weak hip extensor and a strong knee flexor.

 

By keeping the hamstring supple and mobile we can do wonders to increase our mobility and decrease back and knee pain. Studies show that static stretching before exercise does not help improve muscle length.  Dynamic stretching however has shown a benefit to increased hamstring length and mobility. Here are two videos on dynamic stretches for the hamstring:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih5jONxUSPE&feature=plcp&context=C3446b99UDOEgsToPDskJtdw5g0iAixhDZIcB-OhFu

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=DWvX6CLySoo

 

However, performing static stretching after your body is warmed up from movement the studies do show increased function. Here is a stretch for the hamstring to be performed at the end of a workout:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=3T8O5O2oB4Y

 

Should you, or anyone you know, pull a hamstring muscle or have low back issues, your physical therapist at Advantage Physical Therapy has all of the knowledge to help you with a speedy return to a normal activity level.