Plantar Fasciitis in Athletes
Plantar fasciitis or what is commonly called Runner’s Heel is among the most common athletic injuries. Some of its symptoms include a sharp pain felt in the heel or the arch of the foot. About 10% of runners will experience plantar fasciitis in their entire careers.
This injury is not exclusive to runners, as both athletes and non-athletes are at risk of it. It can hit various kinds of athletes with different lifestyles - from serious runners to overweight men and women.
Plantar fasciitis is actually an irritation of the plantar fascia in the area where it connects to your heel bones and where it runs along the bottom of your foot. One suffering from it would feel pain on the inside part of your heel which will come with pinpoint tenderness. This pain will be felt with the first few steps in the morning upon waking up, as the fascia will have stiffened overnight. This will subside when you move around.
Recent studies show that there are very few signs of inflammation in the affected tissues but rather the plantar fascia thickens while the collagen fibers weaken because of tears and stress in the soft tissues.
When athletes look for treatments, they often get a variety of suggestions from podiatrists, but the important thing is that you change your shoes if they are starting to wear down. If you do not, affected muscles in your foot may become a weak point. It is also important for an athlete to reduce their running or if possible, rest.
In addition to these, other recommended treatment include:
- Wearing inserts for arch support
- Taping the arch of your foot when running
- Massaging the area
- Rolling or stretching feet and calves
- Wearing a splint overnight to keep foot in a semi-stretched position
- Doing strengthening exercise routines
- Taking treatments like such as laser and sound wave treatments including radial waves
To be able to provide the proper treatment, it is vital that an athlete finds out what really is causing the problem. This can be achieved by getting a proper diagnosis from a podiatrist. It is not uncommon for some athletes, especially runners, to self-diagnose and treat their plantar fasciitis. If it occurs often or fails to improve in weeks, then it is really important to see an experienced podiatrist like Sheldon H. Nadal, DPM.