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Transverse Friction Massage

Posted by Elyse B on 6/08/04 at 09:00 (152356)

as most of you know I am a 'newbie' with PF. I have only had it for about 2 months and have been diligently trying to get rid of it before it becomes chronic. I am getting orthotics etc., icing, stretching. I believe I have atypical PF, no morning pain, no heel pain, just a dull ache in the arches. I am able to walk and I bet I could even run if I wanted to push myself but I am not. My concern with TFM is that with anything less than extreme cases, can deep massage hurt and make PF worse. there have been postings on the massage that deep massage and even Scott's book makes mention of it, that it can make it worse. Your thoughts.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

John from MN on 6/08/04 at 09:26 (152359)

I should have gone directly to TFM when I was diagnosed with PF. If you see the right doctor with enough TFM experience, you should only need 2-3 treatments and you should be completely healed. You need to focus more on the cause. Make sure your body is in complete alignment and you have full range of motion in all your joints

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Elyse B on 6/08/04 at 09:34 (152364)

well I certainly don't have full range of motion and my flexibility is not very good and never has been. I think getting full range of motion is pretty difficult to obtain. We are talking about a lifetime of being inflexible. John, you were able to get full range of motion in 3 months? So you are thinking that your lack of full range of motion was the culprit for your PF and that 3 months of 'stetching' has cured the PF? It is my understanding from reading Scott's book and many websites about PF that tightness is one of the main causes. Were you not aware of the tightness in your muscles when you first developed PF? John, I am trust trying to get as much info as I can before I make my appointment to get TFM, I am scared it will do more damage than good.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

John from MN on 6/08/04 at 09:37 (152366)

Elyse B.

Here is my email address (email removed), if you want to call me I would be happy to spend a few minutes helping you.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Julie on 6/08/04 at 10:00 (152370)

For those who have been asking for more information, here are a few addresses for websites that explain Transverse Friction Massage, and how it works:


Re: Transverse Friction Massage

john h on 6/08/04 at 12:07 (152398)

Julie: Thanks for posting those sites. The first one I downloaded gave me a very good understanding of the procedure. This has galvanized me to start a new approach. I called about 6 Physical Thearapist to find out how much they knew about the procedure. Several were knowledgable and one in particular said we really needed to address the biomechanics of my foot and examine the orthotic I was wearing.before designing a program. He promised no cure but thought we should be able to reduce the pain level at worst. He is the first guy, Doctors included, who wanted to address foot mechanics as a starter. He has done Deep Transverse Friction for PF and said some it helped and some it did not. He asked me about what kind of stretching I was doing if any and I told him the truth - not very much. I am setting out on a new path starting today to have my foot biomechanics looked at, see if my three year old Footmax orthotics are what I should be in (I always sensed Dr Ed was not to high on these as they may be off the shelf).The thearapist was not to high on the Footmax either.. I plan to enter into some sort of physical thearpy program which may or may not be Transverse Friction Massage. He does this but said some people found it painful. Anyway I am off to my family Doctor to get a referral after I type this and should be in the Physical Thearapist office by tomorrow. Now what do you think of this?

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

John from MN on 6/08/04 at 12:16 (152399)


Dr. Sandell prescribes Foot Levels for orthotics, Much different than anything I have had. They support all 3 arches.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Monte on 6/08/04 at 12:34 (152403)

I had Foot Leveler orthotics. ALL Chiropractors I know prescribe them. The are made by having the patient stand in a foam box.

i originally thought they wer going to be great because of the 2 arch supports....but never really worked....so I got my money back.

I think they have a website


Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Ed Davis, DPM on 6/08/04 at 13:18 (152410)

Addressing the foot mechanics is fundamental. Amazing that no one has discussed this before...

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

John from MN on 6/08/04 at 13:24 (152414)

Absolutely, that's a key piece of the puzzle in treament.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Dorothy on 6/08/04 at 14:13 (152424)

If you were asking Julie what she thinks of this, I'm sorry to butt in. If you were posing a more general question, then I will say that I am very excited for you! I hope very much you get good, thorough advice and treatment.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Dorothy on 6/08/04 at 14:14 (152426)

Julie -

Thank you! I'm going to come back to these later when I have a good chance to review them, but thank you so much for finding these... looks a gold mine of information!

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Rose on 6/08/04 at 18:15 (152449)

My chiropractor also gave me foot levelers, but they did nothing like the ones my podiatrist made for me from a cast.....they are hard and very very good.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Julie on 6/09/04 at 01:49 (152484)

John H

I think it's good that you're going for it, and I hope it helps you. You've had PF for a very long time, so the chances are that there is quite a lot of scar tissue which a correctly chosen massage technique might help to break up. Reading these websites, I suspect that the transverse technique that has helped the other John so much is probably most useful in long-term, intractable cases. I think I would have to question their use in recent-onset cases which are more likely to be a matter of straightforward healing of an injury (whether sudden or repetitive motion) and in which vigorous massage might do more harm than good. This is purely instinctive speculation, but something Elyse and others whose PF has come on recently should perhaps consider.

I'm very surprised to hear that no doctor has evaluated your foot mechanics after all these years!

All the best - keep us informed.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Julie on 6/09/04 at 01:52 (152485)

That should have said 'its use, not their use'. My proof reading is going to pot these days. Too early in the morning!

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Julie on 6/09/04 at 03:46 (152488)

Elyse, see my post to john h, below. Like you, I am concerned about the effects of strong massage on newer cases of PF, where there is probably no scar tissue to break up, but rather inflammation/injury which massage could irritate. I'm not saying you shouldn't investigate it, just that you should ask the right questions and get a full examination/evaluation before you commit yourself. It's unlikely that a qualified, experienced professional as Wayne Winnick seems to be would perform a technique that is likely to make matters worse, but it's your feet, your life.

Good luck!

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Elyse B on 6/09/04 at 06:58 (152490)

Julie you hit the nail on the head. I don't think i have scar tissue therefore I am concerned about whether or not TFM is for me and whether it will do more harm than good. Another thing is that I have the atypical variety, no morning pain etc. You never know what doctors will do. It is a dilemma, since I have a relatively short case of PF what the right questions are to ask the doctor. Yes Dr. Winnick seems to have plenty of experience but have you known a doctor to say no to giving treatment especially when it is not covered by insurance? I did speak to Dr. Sandell and he said that any case of PF for more than a month is considered chronic.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Julie on 6/09/04 at 08:03 (152498)

I would say that Dr Sandell is wrong about that. I don't think PF can be considered chronic until it has been around for a lot longer than that: scar tissue doesn't just happen (but perhaps one of the doctors can amplify on this). Dr Sandell has also been quoted by John as claiming that he has never known a PF patient not to be cured by TFM. I would take that with a grain of salt: another doctor, on one of the websites, said 'It helps some, and doesn't help some'. That sounds more like it to me.

I don't doubt that everything John has said about his cure is true FOR HIM. I am glad for him that he is better, and I hope he remains better. I do doubt that the treatment that was helpful to him is necessarily the right treatment for everybody.

You have nothing to lose (except some money) by seeing Dr Winnick. But you should think of your visit as an interview: you interviewing him, I mean. Make a note of all your questions (and his answers). Form an impression of him and his setup. Then go away and think about it. There's no rush.

I don't think many doctors who are concerned for their reputations (and their patients) would knowingly give inappropriate treatment.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Elyse B on 6/09/04 at 08:14 (152499)

this is what I posted yesterday 'well I find 'cured' a relative term. I am a skeptic and although I am not from Missouri, I believe in 'show me.' Too many people, with too many different symptoms, not one case is alike. What works for one, does not work for another. Hope is a good thing though, it keeps us going through this insidious thing.'

As I am a novice at this, if you have the time can you e-mail me offline with some sample questions to ask the doctor when I get there. I always seem to get flustered and of course hear what I what I wantt here when in the doctor's office. My e-mail is (email removed)

John said that doctors should 'guaranty' their treatment. I told him that in all the years I have been seeing doctors and I have had some neuropathic pain in my past (now taken care) of and I have never, EVER had a doctor guaranty a treatment. I think that borders on malpractice frankly. I am very happy that John has been 'cured.'

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Julie on 6/09/04 at 08:30 (152503)

Elyse, only you can know what specific questions you want answered.

I would guess the most important thing is to establish whether or not your condition is one that could be helped by massage. This should not be difficult to establish: you either have scar tissue that needs breaking up by massage, or you haven't, and the doctor will be able to ascertain that by examining you. If scar tissue isn't present, but he still thinks TFM will solve your problem, ask him why he thinks so.

See if he takes an interest in your biomechanics, and in your footgear. All the hands-on treatment in the world won't be of much use if you over-pronate and are straining your PF with every step you take, or if you are wearing the wrong shoes.

You won't get flustered if you think it all through in advance, and write it down, leaving space for his answers. I know about hearing what you want to hear - we all do that! That's why I said go away and think about it.

If you have a friend who can go with you, he or she can remind you afterwards what was actually said! That is very helpful.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Julie on 6/09/04 at 08:31 (152504)


Oh - and make sure you understand what PF is - memorise the heel pain book!


Re: Transverse Friction Massage

John from MN on 6/09/04 at 09:28 (152516)

goose is going into treatment next Tuesday with Dr. Sandell. I encourage you to ask her all the question you have as she goes through treatment.

I was a big skeptic myself because I have been lied to by so many doctors.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

john h on 6/09/04 at 09:58 (152518)

I would run (if i could) very very fast from any Doctor that 'promised' a cure or who said he had never known a patient not to be cured of PF. Perhaps the good Doctor has not seen many patients. We have to many people on this board with PF ranging from 10 -20 years.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

john h on 6/09/04 at 10:03 (152519)

Most of the statistics say the 90% of PF patients are 'cured' with standard conservative treatment measures withing 6 months. I tend to believe that. Good shoes and support, stop any activity that causes pain, proper stretching and ice, have your feet evaluated for any mechanical deficiency and make sure you have a proper diagnosis of PF, perhaps a night splint, and information information information which is available on this board. Just hope you are fortunate enough to get a competent Doctor at the onset and that you immediately start treatment and do not wait months to see a Doctor.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

Elyse B on 6/09/04 at 10:39 (152525)

thanks Julie, I actually am worthing new orthotics that seem to be helping. John's doctor spends over one hour with him and only charges $40. Fat chance in hell I could get a doctor in NYC to spend more than 20 minutes with me and that is at $185 a shot.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

John from MN on 6/09/04 at 12:28 (152535)

I will ask the good doctor to visit us in this chat room. Results are the only thing that matters. I have been given so much BS from so manny doctors I completly understand where you are coming from and I would be afraid of being like too again if I was in your shoes. I was one of the biggest skepetics too.

I view my process of finding a cure as a numbers game. If I took enough action and talked to enough doctors, I new I could effect the chances of getting curred. What other options did I have. Have extreme PF pain was such a motivator I had to try every option. Good luck to you John h, I would recommend at least talking to my doctor, every action you take could result in a your cure.

Make sure you monitor gooos's post as she goes through treament with Dr. Sandell. The proof is in the pudding.

Re: Transverse Friction Massage

John from MN on 6/09/04 at 13:02 (152539)

After going through all the different treatments I disagree with that statement. None of the standard treatments ever go to the source of the problem they are just band aid attempts to relive the pain. Just because your foot hurts doesn't mean that is where the source of the problem is.

Doctors think they cure patients because the patient stops seeing them. The truth is the patient gives up on the doctor because the treatment is not working. The doctor then thinks that their treatment works. How many doctors have you fired?

Three months ago I would have agreed with your statement.

Re: To: John from MN

Pete R on 6/09/04 at 15:50 (152565)

Great news about your cure.

I'm in the UK and typically as with everywhere there are practitioners who will promise they can massage me as successfully as your Doctor. Do you happen to have your doc's e mail address so i can see whether he has any contacts over here. Long shot but worth a try. After 3.5 years I'll try anything. Done everything else except surgery.


Re: To: John from MN

John from MN on 6/09/04 at 16:09 (152569)

In my experience as a professional patient do not get surgery. I think it does more harm than good. My doctors email address is
(email removed)

I hope he can lead you in the right direction. Stay close the the board because he will be posting treatment information. Good Luck Ptet R