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What Is Fascia in Anatomy? - Definition & Tears

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  • 0:03 Fascia
  • 0:37 Fascia Elasticity
  • 1:12 Fascia & Plantar Fasciitis
  • 2:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Meredith Mikell
You may not know it, but the inside of your body is wrapped in fascia. In this lesson, we'll examine what exactly fascia is and explore the ways in which it can be damaged.

Fascia

Imagine your body being wrapped entirely in plastic wrap. When you tug on one part of the wrap, it will tighten elsewhere. If you tugged hard enough, the wrap could tear anywhere there is enough tension placed upon it. Your body actually has a system like this in place -- only it's on the inside where we can't see.

Fascia is internal connective tissue that wraps around organs, providing support and holding parts together. It has the appearance of a very thin spider web, connecting layers of muscle and surrounding all internal body tissues.

Fascia Elasticity

When in a normal, healthy state, fascia is somewhat relaxed and wavy, much like a gentle yet supportive hug. The elasticity of fascia is due to many interlocking collagen fibers, or strands of proteins that act like coiled springs: being strong, but stretchy. This allows the fascia to be responsive and flexible when it comes to movement and activity. But when excessive physical strain or trauma occurs, the fascia becomes tense and strained. This can not only cause pain and discomfort, but also limit the body's range of motion.

Fascia & Plantar Fasciitis

When fascia becomes overly strained, it can begin to tear. The 'coiled spring' of the collagen fibers are overstretched and become 'sprung'. This causes the fibers to be misaligned and unable to pull and stretch against each other normally. Pain and swelling can occur in the areas of strain.

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