Massage therapy can be a useful tool as part of your podiatry treatment. It is often used to release tight and tense muscles that may be contributing to your injury, such as heel pain, plantar fasciitis and achilles tendinopathy.
Massage therapy is a manual therapy, mainly consisting of effleurage, petrissage and trigger point therapy. Effleurage is used in Swedish massage and consists of light pressure in circular motions to warm muscle tissue and encourage blood flow into the muscle tissue.
This is an important part of the massage treatment, as it prepares the muscle for petrissage (deep tissue) work. Effleurage is mainly used at the beginning and end of your massage treatment, and is generally a quite soothing and relaxing experience.
Once the muscle tissue has been warmed and prepared using effleurage techniques, petrissage massage is used to begin to work more deeply into the muscle tissue. This involves a firmer pressure, with kneading, squeezing and deep strokes used to release muscular tension.
The amount of pressure that is used varies from person to person, and will be adapted to your specific needs and pain threshold.
During petrissage, trigger points may be discovered within the muscle/s being treated. Trigger points are areas of irritation and tenderness and are often referred to as "knots".
Trigger points are generally found in specific regions in the muscle belly and when targeted, often produce a referral sensation which can be experienced in another part of the muscle and/or body.
Trigger point therapy is where a direct, firm pressure is used and released, which can be repeated if necessary. Once a trigger point has been effectively released a feeling of muscle relaxation is often followed.
Dry needling can also be utilised as a form of trigger point therapy. Acupuncture needles are used to target these same areas and have shown to be effective at relieving muscle tension and strain. If you are comfortable with dry needling, your treating practitioner may use dry needling as an extra technique which can be used to release trigger points.
Massage can be used to help release muscles in your leg that could be contributing to your sore feet. Tight muscles, such as your calf muscles, can cause you to walk differently and change your gait.
This change can lead to other muscles working harder than they are used to and cause you pain. By using massage to relieve muscle tension, we can improve your gait and hopefully resolve your pain.
Massage is an awesome tool to provide short term relief from pain and discomfort. If you find great relief with massage, It can be used as a long term treatment as well!
Massage therapy will work best when used with other podiatry treatments, such as orthotics and will often be used alongside other treatments to improve your outcomes.
The main conditions that massage can help to treat include:
- General Muscle Tightness
- Osteoarthritic Pain
- Plantar Fasciitis (also known as plantar fasciosis)
- Heel Spur
- Achilles Tendinopathy
- Sciatic Pain
- Lower Back, Hip and Knee Pain
- Sports Injuries
- Running Injuries
...and many more! If you feel you may benefit from massage therapy or have any questions regarding your current injury, contact the clinic and have an assessment done by a podiatrist.
Everyone has a different level of pain threshold and your treating clinician will make sure that they don’t use pressure that you can’t handle.
If at any point you feel like the pressure that is being used is too much or you are feeling any form of discomfort, let your treating podiatrist know and they will adjust their pressure to suit.
Remember that to benefit from massage a certain level of firm pressure is necessary, particularly with trigger point therapy, to have the best results.
Depending on your injury, massage therapy can be a useful tool to your podiatry treatment. It is useful at releasing muscle tension, trigger points and reducing pain and discomfort.
If you are interested in trying massage therapy as part of your treatment plan, have a chat with your treating clinician to see whether you would benefit by adding it into your treatment plan.