Oh, contraire, you’ve just found a trigger point and touching it is how you release it.
Trigger points are those tight painful knots in your muscles that cause pain where they reside or in other parts of the body. For instance, a knot in a certain muscle in the calf can actually cause pain in the low back.
A result of my work with trigger points is that I’ve developed a theory that aging doesn’t make us stiffer. Rather, I believe that over time we just end up with more trigger points, the cause of our reduced range of motion.
It results in an escalating cycle of pain, fatigue, weakness, and stiffness that we often attribute to old age. You know, ‘I used to be able to do that when I was younger, but I can’t anymore.’
I say, forget that! Reclaim your youthful, pain-free, flexible movements by becoming aware of your trigger points and then working at releasing them.
The feet are the perfect place to begin, especially if you think you have plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. In other words, awful heel pain that drives you nuts every time you take a step. News flash to the pain weary: If a trigger point is involved, your heel pain is releasable. You don’t have to live with it anymore.
Put the ball on a hard floor, no rugs. You’re going to step on the ball, paying attention to placement because contact with the trigger point is crucial to successful release. Don’t put the ball right against the heel, instead, move the ball slightly forward, so it’s almost but not on the junction of where your heel turns into your arch. This places it smack under the more deeply placed quadratus plantae muscle. Now step on the ball, slowly transferring more of your weight onto that foot. If you’re feeling trigger point pain, awesome, hold there for a minute, then move the ball slightly to either side of that spot and work again.
No pain? Well, that means no trigger point. And believe me, there’s no mistaking trigger point pain, it’ll bring tears to your eyes and shouts of disbelief to your lips.
You can also try working the small ball or a larger lacrosse ball in the arch of the foot because most people do have trigger points in this area. However, the pain referral patterns here are to the ball of the foot, not the heel. The YouTube vid shows how to work the arch of the foot and the spot just distal to the heel.
Dry needling acupuncture also works very well with the quadratus plantae muscle in the foot, but you’ll need to find a qualified physio practitioner.
A gentle method for calf-muscle release is to lie on your back, bend your knees, then place your right calf on your left knee. Gently go over the entire calf with your knee, working out those tender knots and tight places. Alternatively you could try the calf release with ball method shown in the Youtube vid above, by using the Tiger Tail below, or you could try my new favourite method, Chinese vaccuum cups. This is probably one of the least painful to release your calves and so is more likely to be done, leading to better results.
Try a short session every day for a few days. You’ll find that when the trigger points start releasing, the pain will decrease, and working on the area becomes easier and easier. Pretty soon you’ll be walking around no problem, having forgotten all about the heel pain you used to have…and what a great day that will be.