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Dad tore a calf muscle, can't recall if it was gastroc or soleus, but he didn't know it at the time and never rehabbed it properly. End result about a year later had horrible PF. Ortho said only way to fix it was to operate after failed PT/stretching regimen and dad wasn't too keen on that so asked about Graston that I had used. Took about 10 treatments, but he is golden now. Occasionally he has to wear this boot thing to bed if he plays too much tennis, but his Ortho believes in it about as much as my Ortho believed in it;) They sure don't like it when people cancel surgery dates!
Tendon scraping isn't really a new idea and Graston is just another way to deliver it.
Disclaimer: I am just a guy on the internet with no medical training. This was just my experience.
"It's too dangerous and expensive to ride with d*ckheads" -tridork
Here are all of the different things I tried that didn't work for me:
After market orthodics (Super Feet)
Lots of massage work on foot and calves
1 cortisone shot
Multiple foot rollers
Frozen Water bottle
Rolling my foot on a golf ball
An Advil routine
I am probably missing some things, but in short I spent about $2,500 on all of these things and none of them worked, but I kept looking for a solution.
I went to see a guy who practices "The Graston Technique". I am not sure if you have ever heard of "The Graston Technique" if you haven't I would encourage you to go Google it and do a little research.
Here is what I learned and know about The Graston Technique from the guy I saw. Plantar Fasciitis is generally a symptom of another problem. For me it was due to having weak Abductor & Adductor muscles in my legs. Over time the other muscles that were overcompensating for my muscle weakness was leading to problems in my calves and all the way down to my Plantar Fascia. I am sure this sounds a little weird and I am not a Doc so bear with me ,I am doing my best to explain it as I understand it.
So what happens over time is that scar tissue forms in the plantar fascia and the calves. As it has been explained to me, muscle fibers lay on top of each other almost like sheets of paper. When scar tissue gets in there it acts like cement and the muscle fibers can not stretch like you need them to when you run, thus the pain starts to occur.
So here is the big difference between The Graston Technique and a lot of other treatments. With The Graston Technique you will go see someone (most likely a chiropractor or PT) who will use the graston tools on you. What they do is they will put a lubricant on your foot and calves and use these metal tools (which look like dull butter knives) to go in and massage/break up the scar tissue. I will tell you the treatment is not super pleasant, but nothing you can't handle. They will pinpoint the problem areas and use those tools to dig and work on specific problem areas. The idea is to break up the scar tissue and then your muscle fibers can move freely as you need them to when you run. Then your pain will go away. For long term success you need to figure out where you have muscle inefficeincees (sp?) and fix those or else over time the problem could come back.
I went in for treatment once or twice a week and didn't realy do much running, but in 4 weeks I was about 85-90% healed. The guy I saw said I was one of the top 5 worst cases he had seen, the sooner or earlier you get to someone the less work/down time it will require to fix.
As it was explained to me the reason this tends to work better than all of the items above that I tried is because a lot of the items that "stretch" the Plantar area really do nothing to get rid of the "scar tissue" so it just sticks around and over time it goes down some, but then people have flair ups again. They start running again and haven't fixed their muscle weaknesses. The other reason is these metal tools in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing can really find and target the problems areas and work them to break down the scar tissue. Much like a good massage therapist knows how to work the kinks out of your muscles better than say an average Joe. While this doesn't always feel great while they are working on you, they spend their time really working the problem areas to get you fixed. Where as someone who is just rolling their foot on a golf ball can't target the exact area as well and it a lot of cases that person is not also having their calves worked on where a lot times there also tends to be some problems.
Graston is a pretty aggressive treatment and will most likely leave redness or bruises on your calves after treatment. I would say one thing you should do is give yourself 4-5 days before you go back for another treatment. Don't go in for a treatment and then go back for another if you are still sore from the 1st treatment, more is not better. Letting the area recover after it has been worked on is the best thing you can do.
I will also say I went to see a chiropractor who really does not practice traditional chiropractic medicine, in short he doesn't crack backs. He works with a lot of endurance athletes and runners, so he knew what he was doing.
On The Graston Website you can find approved providers in your area, if you go this route I would suggest you ask what kind of patients they work on, you will be looking for someone who works on a lot of runners or triathletes.
Since seeing my guy, I have never needed to wear orthodics and I am 100% back to normal.
I apologize for this being really long, but wanted to try and explain everything the best I could with as much possible detail.
I hope this helps!
-Of course it's 'effing hard, it's IRONMAN!
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