What Is Fascia & How To Treat It
There almost certainly have been times in your life that you have experienced muscle soreness and would have preferred not to be facing the discomfort. But in those situations, you probably understood why the pain was occurring, and also knew that you were not contending with a serious issue. However, the pain that can appear to be muscular can sometimes be triggered by a very different problem.
The discomfort could be caused by an issue with your fascia. Of course, reading that might have you wondering if you need to conduct a google search. Because even if you have heard the word fascia, there is a definite possibility that you do not have a thorough understanding of what fascia is.
If that is the case, do not be concerned. Until recent years, many people were largely unaware of what fascia actually does for your body on a daily basis. Fascia began gathering more attention in recent years due to its importance, and it can be helpful to properly understand how this connective tissue functions on your behalf. It is also beneficial to know that problems can emerge if you have unhealthy fascia. That will improve your chances of knowing how to reduce the risk of experiencing a painful issue.
Fascia is a connective web of fibers that protects the muscles, bones, nerves, arteries, and veins, along with your organs. It is located beneath the skin, and it attaches, stabilizes and safeguards these critical components. It can be said that fascia essentially holds your body together because it has the pliability to facilitate muscle movement while also sustaining each muscle group and the other critical parts of your body that were previously mentioned.
There are three layers of fascia. Superficial fascia is located directly below the skin, while primarily providing a support mechanism for your nerves and blood vessels. Your deep fascia is related to the muscles, bones and blood vessels, while visceral fascia is the deepest layer that functions as a source of protection for your organs.
Causes Of Unhealthy Fascia
Maintaining healthy fascia can help you sustain proper alignment, facilitate your blood flow, and reduce the likelihood of pain. It can also decrease the chances of experiencing an injury, and generally boost your effectiveness when you are participating in sports or recreational activities.
But there are factors that can eventually result in having to contend with fascia that is inflamed or otherwise unhealthy. If your fascia becomes tight, it can become problematic. This can occur due to the overuse of specific muscles, which can cause the fascia to thicken. In other cases, the cause is just the opposite as prolonged sitting will also result in your fascia losing its flexibility. An insufficient or unhealthy diet can also cause fascia issues to emerge, as can dehydration. Certain injuries can also lead to having unhealthy fascia.
Unfortunately, if your fascia becomes tight, it can become problematic. Once the fibers that form your fascia have thickened due to any of the reasons that were provided, then you might be contending with the symptoms of unhealthy fascia for a longer period of time than you would prefer.
One unwanted result is a condition that is referred to as fasciitis (fas-e-I-tis). This is an inflammation of the fascia as a result of injury or infection, and there are three significant ways in which it can emerge – plantar fasciitis, eosinophilic fasciitis, and necrotizing fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is the form of this inflammation that most people have become familiar with, as around 2 million individuals are treated for this issue on a yearly basis. This develops in the tissue that is located along with the band that advances from your heel to your toes. It often requires an extended period of time before this particular condition heals.
Eosinophilic fasciitis occurs with far less frequency, and the cause remains unknown. When it does develop, the fascia becomes inflamed, swollen, and thick. This can lead to pain, stiffness and elevated enzyme levels in the blood.
Necrotizing fasciitis is far more serious in nature than plantar fasciitis and eosinophilic fasciitis. According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), this bacterial infection can progress through the body rapidly and can also be fatal. This rare disease impacts 600-700 individuals in the U.S. each year.
When To Visit A Doctor For Fasciitis
The consequences of necrotizing fasciitis cannot be taken lightly. This infection develops following surgery, or the bacteria can also enter the body as the result of a cut, abrasion, or insect bite.
If you have recently encountered any of these triggers, and you are also dealing with severe pain, red or swollen skin, nausea, fever, or dizziness, then you should seek emergency medical attention. Because these are the symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis.
If you or someone that you know is contending with the pain, stiffness, and swelling that were discussed regarding eosinophilic fasciitis, then visiting a physician is recommended. That can determine whether this infection is creating those symptoms.
You should also visit a doctor if you are experiencing any stabbing pain near your heel when you attempt to walk immediately after sleeping, or prolonged sitting. This can be an indication that plantar fasciitis is present.
While plantar fasciitis creates a challenge due to the length of recovery, on many occasions the treatment can consist of rest, ice, and a commitment to stretching for the number of weeks or months that are necessary. Some physicians might recommend physical therapy to reinforce any efforts at stretching the fascia.
Patients who are dealing with eosinophilic fasciitis, you will be provided with anti-inflammatories and possibly cortisone. All of which will be designed to reduce the inflammation.
Anyone who is dealing with necrotizing fasciitis will receive multiple forms of treatment. These include intravenous antibiotics, medications to elevate blood pressure, possible blood transfusions, oxygen therapy, and even surgery if it becomes necessary in order to stop the spreading condition.
At Orthopedic Associates, We Are Here To Help
At Orthopedic Associates, we want you to enjoy your daily activities. That includes sustaining good health before, during, and after involvement with any type of work, exercise or additional activities that you prefer. If you encounter discomfort, illness, injury, or have a concern about anything that might keep you from being involved in any activity, we are here to assist you. Our ultimate objective is always for you to experience pain-free participation in the activities and lifestyle that you enjoy.
That is why Orthopedic Associates offers a full spectrum of musculoskeletal care, along with in-house physical sports therapy, and state-of-the-art-technology including our digital imaging and open MRI, and an on-site surgical center for more patient convenience.
Our board-certified doctors have been practicing medicine for a combined total of 183 years. This includes expertise in sports medicine, through which our physicians provide personalized care for a broad range of sports-related injuries – big or small.
In addition to the services that we provide that are related to Sports Medicine and In-House Imaging, our physicians are always available to utilize their knowledge if you require joint replacement, or arthroscopic surgery, while our specialists are also here to assist with physical therapy, rehabilitation, and orthopedic trauma.