Fascia is the biological fabric that holds us together – it is a 3-D spider web of elastic, fibrous, gluey, and wet proteins that hold nerves, sensory organelles, bones, muscles and organs all together in their proper placement. How fascia works as a whole – our biomechanical regulatory system – is highly complex and under-studied.
Crucially it is the mechanism that allows us to transmit ground reaction forces efficiently through the body, so that we can undertake daily life, recreation and sporting activities without injury.
On dissection the highly organised fascial structures are directional with fibres running “cleanly” in the direction of articular movement, but linked web like to surrounding fascial structures. There is space for interstitial fluids and elastic changes due to muscle contraction.
Force applied to fascia will travel primarily along fascial lines but also has a ripple effect in that it will also shed load to surrounding fascial structures.
Injury, overuse and underuse (particularly poor postures) can allow the fascia to mat and tangle – reducing elasticity, effective force transmission and hydration that affects not just the site “dysfunction” but also in the surrounding tissues which rely on their neighbouring fascial structures in order to function effectively.
Understanding fascia is essential to the dance between stability and movement – crucial in high performance, central in recovery from injury and disability, and ever-present in our daily life from our embryological beginnings to the last breath we take.
Plantar fascia and the complex sensory and mechanical structures of the feet are important to have function well. If they are are not working effectively then the 4,000-10,000 steps you take every day will send minimal or poor quality information to the CNS and compromise movement of the whole body. Walking and exercise barefoot on textured and pliable surfaces can improve overall quality of movement and particularly balance and falls prevention.
Thomas Myers refernced in this text