Q&A With Brian
“Hi Brian, I have been having treatment for a 12mm tear in my Fascia with my local podiatrist. My treatment after 3 weeks is not improving as swiftly as I’d hoped and my podiatrist is now recommending a cortisone injection. I'm not too keen on this idea, do you have any suggestions on this matter? I'm a keen tennis player and wanting to get back to playing tennis sooner rather than later. Taryn, Roleystone, WA”.
Thank you for your question and I am sorry to hear about the injury. I too am a keen tennis player so I understand your frustration.
Often with Fascia injury a great amount of tension and tightness has developed over time, placing it at risk of tearing when subjected to a force like jumping, running or the like. As I am unclear of the circumstances of how you sustained your injury, and as you are under the care of a Podiatrist, I am presuming the tear is in your foot. I can be certain tightness was present in your Fascia prior to it occurring.
One of the most beneficial actions available to you (and likely the least attractive) is to rest. I can almost hear you groan from here but Taryn, if there is one thing I have learned from my years as an athlete, rushing back after injury is fraught with danger. The last thing you need and want is to re-tear your Fascia and for it to become chronic. Having said that I do encourage you to be proactive with your recovery. I have put together a plan below which I would follow if I had sustained an injury as you have. I hope it helps.
Reduce calf tightness – as you may have read in my last post, all the Fascia in your body is connected. It is like a big sack with many individual pockets your muscles are held in. In the case where you have a tear, it is important to remember this and therefore not only treat the injured area but the surrounding area(s) too. Tightness in your calf will most definitely result in increased tightness in the Fascia of your foot. If you are not already, I’d encourage you to obtain Deep Tissue Massage therapy of your feet and calves.
Friction – when Fascia and or muscle tears, your body lays down what is known as ‘scar tissue’ to knit the area back together. Now some ‘scar tissue’ is necessary, however as it is non elastic, too much may leave you with a reduced range of motion and subsequent increase in your risk of injury. It is important to control the build-up of scar tissue and you can do this yourself. Over the point of your injury, I would simply rub it to create friction on the area. This will have a two-fold healing effect: 1. It will promote blood flow; and 2. Reduce excessive scar tissue build up and improve elasticity of the tissue
Magnesium – for contraction of muscles, your body needs calcium, to relax muscles, your body needs magnesium. You can increase the amount of magnesium in your diet by including foods like peanuts, banana, avocado and dried apricots. In addition you may want to wish to use a supplement in the short term to ensure you have adequate supply. I recommend and use Bioceuticals.
Ice/Heat - one of the most beneficial treatment techniques I have found to speed recovery is the alternating of ice and heat to the affected area. The protocol I follow is this: Heat – using a wheat bag or warm water, for 5 minutes, stretch area. Cold – using ice pack or cold water, for 5 minutes.Repeat as often as you have time for. I use this treatment for many of the injuries I have sustained over the years with great benefit. The warming allows the area to more ‘stretchy’ and increases blood flow. The stretch improves range of motion and breaks any adhesions limiting function, with the cooling stopping any excess inflammation gathering.
Heel cup – I found in the short term inserting a heel cup into my shoe helped to bring some relief and sped my recovery. By raising your heel ever so slightly, it will take the tension off your calf and foot and allow the injured area to rest. This rest as I spoke of earlier is very likely to be the most influential aspect of your recovery.
Thanks again for your question Taryn and I hope my suggestions provide some insight in the actions you can take to not only heal but prevent this type of injury occurring again.
Good luck with the tennis!