Here’s a simple test:
1. Bend forward (as if to touch your toes with the knees straight). Notice the resting position of the hands and how far down to the floor you’re able to get them.
2. Now take a tennis ball and simply roll it across the deep plantar fascia on one foot, making sure to be slow and thorough.
3. After one minute, switch and do the same for the other foot. Make sure you roll across the ENTIRE surface of both feet.
4. Now perform the forward bend again and notice your hand position. Most people (not all) will notice a drastic difference in hand placement compared to what it was at the start of the test. How is this possible? In his rather exceptional book, Anatomy Trains, Thomas Myers explains the theory that “muscles operate across functionally integrated body-wide continuities within the fascial webbing. These sheets and lines follow the warp and weft of the body’s connective tissue fabric, forming traceable ‘meridians’ of myofascia. Strain, tension, fixation, and compensation are distributed along these lines.”
Beginning at the bottom of the foot, the plantar surface (plantar fascia) is often the source of trouble that communicates up through the rest of the line
Causes: The majority of people are on their feet all day walking, running, climbing, etc. and all these can be seen as repetitive actions that perpetuate trigger points in the peroneals. Also, certain awkward positions like sitting at your desk with your feet plantar flexed (which I do all the time) or sleeping on your stomach with your toes pointed can cause trigger points to appear. For women, wearing high heeled shoes can lead to trigger points.
Treatment: The three peroneal muscles are located on the outer side of the lower leg and run all the way down the fibula. Sit on the floor and place the tennis ball on the outer portion of your lower leg and simply roll on top of it. You’ll have to tilt your body slightly to one side to really hit them. Be sure to go slow and when you do come across a tender spot, apply a bit more pressure and then continue on. This probably won’t be pleasant for many people.
Causes: Walking, running, and climbing are still the main culprits here. Other causes include:
- Leaning forward while standing for extended periods of time.
2. Driving without cruise control
3. Wearing high-heeled shoes
4. Foot stools or recliners that put pressure on the calves.
5. Running on sand or gravel.
Treatment: Same as the peroneals, except that you’re more focused on the “meat” of the calves. Again, be sure to go slow and deep. When you find a tender spot, apply additional pressure for a few seconds, and then move on.
Causes: Inactivity and too much sitting can cause trigger points to develop in this region of the body. People sit all day. They sit in the car or on the train to and from work. They sit while at work. Then they sit and watch television for 3-4 hours every night. [Side Note]: unless you’re watching a “24” marathon, there’s no reason to be watching television for 3-4 hours straight.
Treatment: Take the tennis ball and sit on one of your butt cheeks with a slight tilt and find your hip rotators. If you need a point of reference, try to find the boney prominence of the greater tronchanter (hip). Trust me, you’ll know when you “hit” it, because it will hurt. From there, just play around with the angles and roll over all the bumps you come across.
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