How Does Plantar Fascia Trigger Point Work? – All You Need To Know

When was the last time you suddenly got a pain in your foot? What was your immediate reaction? Probably, you tried to massage the area with your hand. I find this natural reaction very interesting and have always believed that massaging the right points can relieve most pains. The only secret is finding the exact point to activate. Today, I’d like to talk about the plantar fascia trigger point that can help alleviate pain for plantar fascia

Before we go into the details how the plantar fascia trigger point, let’s understand the condition first.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes while supporting the arch of your foot. Out of strain, the ligament gets weak, swollen and inflamed. This causes the bottom of the foot to hurt when you walk or stand. (1)

It can develop in one or both feet and the pain is usually a sharp pain that occurs with the very first steps in the morning.

  • Waking up with sore feet is one of the first signs of the condition. 

Usually, the symptoms include numbness, tingling or swelling. People who are on their feet for long periods of time. Also, using poor footwear, age, obesity and lack of physical exercise are other risk factors. (2)

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis

Potential reasons:

  • Long distance runners, in particular, are more likely to develop plantar fascia problems. Those who over train or neglect to stretch their calf muscles are also at high risk of developing the condition. (3)
  • Another cause of plantar fasciitis can also cause biomechanical flaws including high arches and tight achilles tendon.
  • Excessive pronation and sudden increases in training mileage can also be a cause of plantar fasciitis.
  • Wearing worn running shoes and running on hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt can also cause the ligament to become weak. (4)

Your Treatments:

Many common home treatments are used to cure the condition. These include:

  • Apply the PRICE method
  • Use counter anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Wearing night splints 
  • Resting from physical activities.

In this article, we will focus our attention on one method that is often overlooked-using the trigger points to alleviate pain.

How Does The Trigger Point Work?

How Does The Trigger Point Work

What Is Trigger Point?

A trigger point is also known as a “muscle knot”, and their nature is very uncertain. Although they are not literal knots in your muscles, they are a small patch of contracted muscles. This patch can cause pain because the blood supply is chocked which irritates. (5)

Potential Risks

A trigger point in the muscle or fascia tissue can lead to what is called a myofascial pain which causes the entire muscle to be painful, weak or fatigued.

Trigger points can pose a serious threat for three main reasons:

  • They can make injuries worse by causing pain which overshadows the underlying problem
  • ​They can be the direct causes of pain
  • ​They can be confused with other issues because they mimic problems

Because of these issues, there is a chance that the pain you experience is a manifestation of a totally different problem. However, if you have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, plantar fibroma massage can be performed by a therapist.

Also, there are four exercises you can perform at home to activate the right trigger points.

4 Trigger Points For Plantar Fasciitis

Often, the pain generated by the plantar fasciitis comes from trigger points in the soleus, quadratus and gastrocnemius muscles. Focusing on treating these trigger points may greatly alleviate the pain. While performing these trigger point exercises, remember to identify which activity will create tension in the legs and stay away from it. (6)

Soleus Stretch 

  • This stretch targets the soleus trigger point.
  • Start by bending the leg you want to stretch and placing it behind your other leg.
  • Facing a wall, push your heels to the down.
  • Hold this for 30 seconds on each leg and repeat 3 times twice daily.
  • You should feel a stretch near the ankle.
  • ​Another variation is to put the forefoot of the front leg against the wall.
  • ​With the heel on the floor, push the front knee towards the wall.

Gastrocnemius Stretch

  • ​This stretch targets the calf muscle.
  • ​To start, find a firm edge that can support your weight such as a step.
  • ​Stand at the edge of the step with enough of your foot on the step so that you don’t slip.
  • ​Lower your heels over the edge of the ledge one at a time.
  • ​The stretch will be felt moving lower to the side of the shin.
  • ​Hold this for 30 seconds repeating thrice for each side every two or three hours.

Towel Toe Lifts

  • ​This exercise is designed to strengthen your arches.
  • ​Lack of strength in your feet is one of the things that can cause plantar fasciitis problems.
  • ​To perform this exercise, place a small towel under your foot.
  • ​Then, curl your toes and grab the towel as firmly as you can.
  • ​Lift the front of your foot off the floor and hold for 6 seconds.
  • ​Next, relax your grip and let go of the towel lifting your toes up and spreading them.
  • ​Repeat this exercise for up to 10 reps, three times a day.

Deep Foot Flexors Stretch

  • ​To help and stretch your deep foot flexors, sit down with your foot lying on the opposite knee like in the number 4 position.
  • ​Then, gently hold your foot with one hand and pull all toes upward with the other.
  • ​Hold this for 30 seconds repeating twice on each side two times a day.

5 Tips To Prevent Plantar Fascia

Prevent Plantar Fascia

Since plantar fascia pain is mostly caused by the weakening the ligament, steps can be taken to ensure it remains strong. (7)

  • Wear shoes that have good arch support and cushioning especially if your job requires a lot of standing or walking
  • ​Gradually increase your exercise intensity and always use support shoes
  • ​Do achilles tendon stretches especially before sports
  • ​Alternate running with other sports
  • ​Avoid going barefoot which causes strain on your feet

Conclusion

It took a lot of pain before I discovered the power of using trigger points but now that I know its potential, it will always be my first option. For runners like you and me, plantar fasciitis is a challenge we will face at one time or another. Understanding how to activate the three trigger points for the condition: the soleus, quadratus and gastrocnemius muscles is the key to getting rid of the pain for good.

As with most conditions, plantar fascia is very preventable. Take care of your footwear and avoid going barefoot and you’ll never have to deal with pain.

What did you learn from this article? Have you used trigger points to alleviate plantar fasciitis pain? How did it work? What other tips would you like to share to help prevent the condition? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Remember to share this information with others too. 

Amber Irwin
 

Hi everyone. I'm Amber a running and sports writer. I love to share my passion with fellow outdoor lovers and hope to establish a community here. I believe running is an amazing sport for everyone and hope to inspire others with my words. Welcome to my fantastic blog!

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