Repetitive Strain Injury/plantar fasciitis

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Question
After months of self-treatment with ice, stretching and shoe inserts, I am seeing a physical therapist for my heel pain.  I was very active, cross training, limited running to six miles per week.  The therapist has me doing a series of stretches throughout the day, but sometimes, it seems a lot of stretching makes it more sore than it was.  Is it possible to stretch too much?  

I have also started rolling my foot over a tennis ball, in addition to the frozen water bottle roller.  I admit, I did three, twenty second sprints the other day, landing on my forefoot, and paid dearly with severe heel pain the next day.  After six months of waiting for this thing to resolve, though, I am losing patience!

Answer
Hi Regina,

Unfortunately stretching a muscle that has knots (spasms) in the fibers can definitely cause more pain, and may even tear the muscle fibers.  Think of what would happen if you took a 12" length of line, tied enough knots in it so it is 11" and then tried to stretch it back to 12". The same thing happens with your muscles.  However, if you first untied the knots (release the spasms) and then stretched it, you'd be successful.

Also, it's nice to roll your foot on a ball or frozen bottle of ice, but your problem isn't coming from there. The analogy I always use is, if you pull your hair at the end your scalp will hurt. But, you don't need to massage your scalp or your hair, you don't need to take drugs for the pain, and you don't need brain surgery....you just need to let go of your hair.  

I suggest you go to http://www.julstro.com and read the section called "Muscles and Pain" and "What's Happening Exactly."  It will give you a much better understanding of what is actually happening.  The muscles of your lower leg (analogy: hand) will pull on the tendons that insert into your foot (analogy: hair) and since they insert into your arch and your heel, you foot will hurt (analogy: scalp).  If you just release the spasms in your lower leg it will release the tension on the tendons and your arch will be just fine.

I've worked with people, teaching them how to self-treat the muscles of the lower leg (as well as muscles everywhere else in the body) and they have eliminated plantar fasciitis/heel pain.  This will be a lot more logical after you read the website mentioned.  

In any case, I'm certain that you can get back to running and doing everything else you enjoy in no time at all, it's just a matter of treating your lower leg muscles (front and back of the leg) to release the pressure on your foot.

Wishing you well,
   Julie Donnelly

Repetitive Strain Injury

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Julie Donnelly, LMT

Expertise

I can accept questions that relate to chronic or acute pain caused by muscle spasms and contractions. Repetitive Strain Injury is actually Cumulative Trauma to muscles. Releasing the spasm &/or contraction will relieve the strain that is felt at the insertion point on the bone. I am the co-developer of the unique safe-stretching program "Focused Flexibility Training," which combines easy instruction for self-treating spasms throughout your body with proven yoga stretches. I have recently authored two new books: "The 15 Minute Back Pain Solution," and "The Secret to Your Best Golf Game EVER!

Experience

Since 1989 I have been working with endurance athletes and individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions. I have authored seven self-treatment books and three self-treatment DVDs and I have developed the Julstro System for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, Trigger Finger, and other Hand/Wrist pain. I am a national and international presenter at conventions, seminars, and workshops. Principle topics are "Work Shouldn't Hurt," and "The Pain Free Athlete." In 2005 and 2006 I was the massage therapist for ultracyclists competing in the Race Across America (RAAM) 3000+ mile race from San Diego, CA to Atlantic City, NJ. I've taught the Julstro techniques to physical therapists at the Cleveland Clinic, to massage therapists in areas around the USA, and I've taught Julstro self-treatment clinics to dancers at Juilliard School of Performing Arts (NYC),the sprinting team at NC State, and I am working closely with several Olympic-hopeful. We have successfully eliminated the repetitive strain injuries that could keep them out of the Olympic Games, and the best part is they know how to do the self-treatments so they can stay pain-free and flexible.

Publications
Triathlete Magazine, Endurance Magazine, multiple national and international trade journals.

Education/Credentials
Swedish Institute of Allied Health, NY, NY - Initial education in massage therapy Licensed NYS Massage Therapist since 1989. SUNY Empire State College, Saratoga Springs, NY - B.Sc. degree in Interdisciplinary Health Education I was an Associate Professor helping to develop the massage training program for SUNY Rockland Community College

Past/Present Clients
Privacy prevents me from filling in this section without prior consent from my clients. Life Experience: I have been specializing in the treatment of chronic pain and sports injuries since receiving my NY massage license in 1989. A personal bout with carpal tunnel syndrome was the catalyst to my developing a self-treatment that heals the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome quickly and without surgery. My work with endurance athletes was the inspiration to teach people how to self-treat so they could stop pains even during a race or heavy training day. Both of these situations ultimately became the products that are sold on my websites: http://www.FlexibleAthlete.com and http://www.julstro.com. I currently treat people in my offices in Sarasota, FL, Cary, NC, or Pearl River, NY

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