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Plantar Fasciitis: Resolving Foot Pain with Active Release Technique

Feeling some pain in the foot or heel area, let alone one that is very painful can cause a great amount of discomfort especially when moved or touched. Some may try to do some home remedies to ease the pain and reduce the swelling, but when the pain is simply too much, you would probably need to have some professional intervention.

One condition that can cause an excruciating pain in the foot and heel region is called plantar fasciitis, and it involves the swelling and the inflammation of the plantar fascia. Fascia is a thick body of tissue that starts at the back of the heel and runs into the bottom of the foot.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis

This type of condition is among the most common causes of pain that is felt in the foot and is usually provoked due to overuse or certain activities such as sports, running, improper stretching and walking, ballet dancing, use of incorrect footwear, or excess body weight.

Certain factors can also trigger this condition like those who are flat footed, or those with high arches, and those with foot muscles that are not very strong and have tensed Achilles tendons, hamstring, or calf. 

A known symptom for Plantar Fasciitis is the experience of pain across the foot’s and the heel’s arch. It can be really painful when pressure is first applied to the foot like when you first get up in the morning. This pain can also be excruciating coming from a standing or sitting position for long periods.

When there is a micro tearing in the fascia and pressure is applied, the arch of the foot becomes swollen and is irritated. The body responds by creating a scar tissue. Plantar fasciitis can become a persistent condition if it is not addressed right away.

Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

To relieve the pain caused by plantar fasciitis, some may try to put ice on the injured area or use splints. Others try to rest their feet or take a non- steroidal anti- inflammatory medicine. However, if none of these works, other methods that have longer term effects may be used such as the ART (Active Release Technique), Graston Technique, or deep tissue massage.

Among these alternatives, the Active Release Technique claims to produce highly successful outcomes. This technique is a new approach in which hands are used in order to manipulate the injured tissues. Active Release Technique should only be performed by a therapist and it works by locating the scar tissues that have accumulated in the soft tissues and muscles, and then treating it. 

This new technique helps in the breakdown or disruption of the adhesions and it enhances the movement, comfort, and the flexibility of the normal tissue. One of its goals is to bring back stability, flexibility, and balance. With this approach, treatment is performed to the calf muscles as well as the other muscles in the foot and to the plantar fascia.

Active Release Technique (ART)

Active Release Technique can be done in combination with other methods such as stability and strengthening exercises and deep tissue massage. Those who have tried this approach had positive results after two to four treatments.

What this technique does is to resolve the concerns involving the soft tissues in the body which aside from the fascia, includes the ligaments, nerves, and muscles. Apart from plantar fasciitis, it is also used as a treatment for tears, painful scar tissues, certain injuries, and micro traumas.

Active Release Technique should only be done by a medical provider who is specially trained for this such as chiropractors, massage therapists, doctors trained in ART, and physical therapists who are certified ART providers. 

This approach uses unique manipulations and movements to assist in breaking up the painful scar tissue while at the same time improving the blood flow in the injured region. This also aids in promoting the healing process of the tissue.

Risks and Benefits of ART

No studies are available for this new approach of healing foot pain yet, therefore the results only come from the feedback of those who have tried this treatment. The process can be quite painful as pressure is applied to the targeted scar tissue through some intense movements and manipulations. Active Release Technique would work better if done with a change in lifestyle.

Some benefits that you can get from this technique include improving the blood flow and circulation to the plantar fascia area, and enhancing the range of motion as well as the foot’s flexibility. Because of its targeted manipulation, it is able to break up the adhesions and the scar tissues and since blood flow is improved, the needed nutrients and oxygen are delivered thus resulting in a much quicker healing process.

Also among the best things about the Active Release Technique is that it is more affordable than other medical solutions. 

What to Expect in an Active Release Technique Session

Before the ART session begins, the chiropractor or the therapist will first assess the condition of your fascia including its strength, flexibility, and health. The chiropractor will also check the condition of the surrounding ligaments and muscles as well as the toes, and the ankle.

When the assessment is done, the chiropractor will then start using their hands to put pressure and friction to the fascia. They will also apply some lengthening techniques to the area including the nearby tissues.

How much will it cost varies according to the provider. This may also be covered by the insurance if you have coverage for it. But one thing for sure, Active Release Technique is certainly less expensive compared to other treatments available for foot pain.

Though ART is a fairly new technique to relieve foot pain or plantar fasciitis and no studies have yet been done, those who have tried this method claim its effectiveness just after 2 to 4 treatments. Having this type of solution to treat foot pain certainly brings good news.

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