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Myofascial Dysfunction

Fascial Restrictions

Fascial restrictions can occur from many things including trauma, faulty posturing and faulty, repetitive movement patterns. Fascia is a tough connective tissue that encompasses the entire body in a three dimensional web from head to toe without interruption. Trauma, posture, inflammation and even lack of normal motion can create a tightening of fascia. Certain areas of the body have fascia that serve a special function such as the plantar fascia in the bottom of the foot, the iliotibial band on the outside of the upper leg and the “aponeurosis” of the head and neck and middle and lower back. These types of fascia can also be considered to be “postural fascia” and are often the first areas to display changes associated with postural dysfunction and their associated pain patterns.

Fascia prevents muscles from tearing and breaking, and also prevents muscle hernias. If muscles were not surrounded by fascia, their action would not be even and coordinated, and they would rupture and tear. They would not reach the strength or power that they are capable of achieving.

The elastic property of fascia helps to push on and maintain venous openings after they have been squeezed by contraction. Lesions of the fascia and the adjacent muscle inhibit venous return and lead to congestion and eventual pathology. The movement of venous blood and lymph depends to a large degree on muscular activity that works against and along the fascial planes. Thickening and/or shortening of the fascia combined with insufficient muscular activity slow the influx of blood and lymph.

Fascial thickening develops as a response to forces of tension and mechanical demands. Excessive thickening is frequently accompanied by shortening, which results in excessive restriction so that movement in the area becomes restricted.

Plantar Fasciitis

k-plantarPlantar Fasciitis is a common diagnosis for heel pain. This condition occurs when the long fibrous plantar fascia ligament along the bottom of the foot develops tears in the tissue resulting in pain and inflammation. The condition is often misspelled as plantar fascitis. Correctly pronounced it is “plantar fash-eee-eye-tiss”.

There are a number of plantar fasciitis causes. The plantar fascia ligament is like a rubber band and loosens and contracts with movement. It also absorbs significant weight and pressure. Because of this function, plantar fasciitis can easily occur from a number of reasons. Among the most common is an overload of physical activity or exercise. Certain types of arthritis and diabetes can also make the body more susceptible to plantar fasciitis.

A thorough clinical evaluation should be performed when the plantar fascia has become inflamed. Irritation and subsequent inflammation commonly has an underlying cause such as poor motor control in the associated muscles or muscle imbalances in the body that have allowed for altered foot mechanics and undue stress at the plantar foot.