Back in 2011, I developed a nasty case of what they now call Plantar Fasciopathy. I tried all kinds of treatments - wearing a boot at night, buying expensive orthotic inserts and shoes, endless stretches and exercises, ice treatments and massage. One thing I didn't try was rest. I was (and still am) a recovering food-a-holic, and 6-8 weeks with no exercise seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.
After about 8 months of this misery, my Zumba instructor shared with me the success she was having rehabilitating her previously torn calf muscle using a therapy called Astym. At that point I was willing to try anything, so I called and made an appointment.
Good things about Astym:
1) It actually works! It did take me about 12 sessions (6-7 weeks) due to the severity of my PF, but after treatment the pain was gone and has stayed gone for almost 2 years!
2) You can keep exercising while you heal - in fact, my therapist insisted on it!
3) Your insurance may pay for it. Mine did. I only had the office co-pay so ended up spending less for this than all the other things I had tried (that had failed) before.
1) It hurts! Do not be fooled by the cute videos showing what looks like a gentle massage. The first few passes do feel kind of nice - but by the 100th you are ready to rise up off the table and smack your therapist! However, the pain didn't seem to linger after the actual treatment - so if you can grin and bear it for 30 minutes, you are good to go. Remember - no pain, no gain!
Sooooo.... fast forward to June 2012.
I had just started running and my right ankle (not the foot I already had Astym on) was giving me fits. This was not surprising. I had torn some ligaments in this ankle (on a trampoline) when I was 15, and it had been flaring up and giving me problems off and on for 30 years! I knew that if I kept running, it would only get worse, so I made an appointment with my Astym guy, Bryan.
Three weeks and 6 treatments later I was fixed! It hasn't given me one lick of trouble in the past year since!
Conclusion: I am totally and completely sold on Astym for soft tissue repair. Honestly, I don't know how it works - and I don't even care. I just know that, FOR ME - it has been a miracle.
Every time I read about another runner with a chronic case of plantar fasciopathy, achilles tendinitis, patellar tendinosis, shin splints, i.t. band syndrome, ankle sprains - or any other kind of sprains I want to hit the caps key and comment: "GET ASTYM NOW!!!" However, I often keep my mouth shut because after a dozen or so pitches for Astym, I'm sure everyone in blog-land thinks I work for the company or something**. (because, you know everyone reads everyone else's comments and they all KNOW!) I kid!
But seriously: What are you waiting for?