Six months of enduring foot pain, shoe inserts, night boots, expensive custom-fitted shoes, oral medications, daily exercises, steroid injections (3), cryo-therapy and surgery did little for the desperate and frustrated woman on the other end of my phone. I agreed to see this likable woman, all the while uncertain as to what my approach to plantar fasciitis could accomplish so late in the game.
I was immediately impressed by this woman’s persistence, positive attitude and compliance with the “homework” she had been assigned to treat her stubborn case. After reviewing what she had been faithfully doing on her own, I set out to see what my hands would discover.
The session started with 50 minutes of detailed foot reflexology that she reported, with surprise, relaxed her very much. I then had her shift onto her side (later, her stomach and finally her back) and began the methodical and easy procedures to identify and release constriction within the fascia enervated by the S1 nerve root. Thirty minutes later, the work was completed bi-laterally. All that remained to be seen was the results.
When we talked the next afternoon, she sheepishly said that she felt almost scared to voice how she felt. When I pressed her to say more, she added, “I feel great. I have virtually no pain in my foot, and I’m afraid that I might jinx it if I say so.” She added that she felt one slight “twinge” in her foot during the night, but hardly worth reporting. We agreed to meet two more times within the week.
Plantar fasciitis develops from overuse and stress on the fascia on the sole of the feet. This results in tissue fatigue and degeneration of collagen leading to micro-tearing in the fascial band and its attachment at the heel. Although the symptoms may first appear only in the heel, the condition affects far more than just the heel of the foot. In the case of this client, we discovered a major contributing factor, and reason why earlier interventions performed only on her feet failed, was that she had significant tightness in certain hip muscles that were impeding proper nerve conduction to her feet. A combination of foot reflexology and the procedure to release S1 nerve entrapment within those muscles broke her cycle of pain. All that was left for her to do to prevent a reoccurrence was to keep the fascia in her lower extremities fluid and strong.
During our second session, I offered a couple of new stretches and strengthening exercises, specific to her body’s needs.
She returned for her third and final session elated. She told me that she has slept through the last few nights without waking up from foot pain – a first since this had all started. After so many other approaches had failed, she admitted having been a little skeptical of what reflexology could do, but agreed to go along with her trusted massage therapist’s recommendation to see me. I was glad to blow that myth for her, and regret only that she hadn’t sought out this service before. She’s off on vacation now with stretches to keep her feet happy, happy!
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that brings many people to see reflexologists. It is a very painful condition that afflicts thousands of people in America and is the most common cause of heel pain for which professional care is sought. Reflexologists (conventional and Thai) and massage therapists can learn how to help people with this debilitating condition in just two days of hands-on training.
Check out the Events page on the Academy’s Facebook page or the Workshops page on the website for details.
Saint Augustine, Florida – August 25 & 26
Guelph, Ontario – September 15 & 16
Montreal, Quebec – September 22 & 23
Elisabeth Millspaugh says
I am having severe pain in the heel of my
foot and believe it is Plantar Fasciitis .
The above story is very promising and I would like to know if you
know of Reflexologists in Connecticut that are knowledgeable in treating
Thank you ,
Karen Ball says
Hello Elisabeth: I so wish I did know someone in Connecticut that was trained in working with plantar fasciitis – but I don’t. I suggest you look in the Reflexology Association of America’s directory of Professional members. If you find someone near you, interview them about their training and experience in this area. Good luck! http://www.reflexology-usa.org
Lyn Triplett says
I am having the same problems – where can I find a specialist in the Raleigh, NC Area ? Are all reflexology therapists trained in targeting plantar fasciitis?
Karen Ball says
Lyn – I’m so sorry to hear of your plantar fasciitis experience. I wish I could tell you that all reflexologists are trained to work with this condition, but it’s not so. Reflexology is the basis of this protocol, but it involves also releasing nerve impingement along the S1 nerve root. (Reflexology on its own will help though.) I suggest that you check these two website directories of Professional reflexologists and then interview someone you locate near you to see what their training is. The Reflexology Association of America http://bit.ly/18DSJyn and the American Reflexology Certification Board http://bit.ly/1MHRgWy. Those are links directly to the North Carolina listings. Good luck!
david Lieberman says
I just came across your site and I really hope you can help me with more info. I’ve been suffering from Plantar issues for over 1 year now. At first I ignored the pain from my low arches and continued living with it not realizing what was happening to my foot. By the time I saw a podiatrist it was too late. I have been wearing custom insoles for 3 months now. I’ve also researched this extensively for the past year and I do many exercises to rebuilt my muscles. The pain is now much more manageable but i still have severe pain by the end of the day if I walk for over an hour, run, or do any sports.
I can see that you guys had an event in Montreal where I currently live. Would you be able to recommend me a similar practitioner to yourself who could help me treat this condition with reflexology and the rest of the methods you described above? Over the year and with the extensive research I’ve done, I am finding myself trusting podiatrists less and less 🙁
Thank you for your time!
Karen Ball says
David: I’m sorry to hear that you are having this issue. I know, from personal experience, it’s not fun!
A couple of points to consider: wearing insoles permanently does nothing to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of your foot; they basically take over the function, so the muscles become weaker. They are great to support while you are healing the foot. You mentioned running and sports. Any sport that involves repetitive pounding on the feet needs to be curtailed until the injury is healed; otherwise, it won’t. Sorry.
Here is the name and number of a graduate of my training dealing with chronic foot pain issues, specifically plantar fasciitis. She lives and works in Montreal: Andrea Muhlebach at Reflex Oasis firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for the prompt reply!! I stopped sports all together (which isnt fun- seeing myself go massively out of shape). I am aware that the insoles are weakening my foot, that’s why I try to do as much exercise as possible on the foot, mainly stretches using an elastic band. Is that the right thing to do?
Karen Ball says
Stretches stretch the muscles. That’s important to maintain flexibility in your feet. You need to also be strengthening those muscles. Andrea can teach you some things to do.
david Lieberman says
Thanks again for all the info!! I contacted Andrea and I might go see her soon. She sounds lovely. The only problem is she lives quite far outside of the city. I work very long hours and even the extra walk (I don’t drive) taking public transport all the way to her is hard on my feet. Might you know anyone else who lives in Montreal city?
Karen Ball says
Ask Andrea. There are many people in the Montreal area who took my training. I just don’t know who is actually practicing it; who kept it up. I know Andrea has. If you explain the trouble traveling and ask her for a referral, I’m sure she would understand and be forthcoming.