Olympics and Plantar Fasciitis

There have been numerous cases in sporting news about athletes having problems with plantar fasciitis. In light of the largest worldwide athletic stage, the Olympics, we thought this would be a perfect time to bring you some information on this common over-use injury of the foot.


The plantar fascia is the band of connective tissue which connects the heel of the foot to the toes. When it is over-used it can become inflammed and painful. This condition is known as plantar fasciitis. The pain from plantar fasciitis is usually described as ranging from an ache or throb to a stabbing pain, and it is most commonly located on the bottom of the foot, where the arch meets the heel. The pain is often at its worst in the morning or after sitting down, and may subside once you use your foot.


There are a few common causes of plantar fasciitis. Athletes and those who exercise for enjoyment or health reasons often experience this condition, as repeated use can cause strain on the plantar fascia. Runner especially experience over-use injuries like plantar fasciitis, stress fractures of the feet and ankles, and shin splints. Also, people who spend a lot of time on their feet in a day are susceptible to plantar fasciitis. Standing on hard surfaces, like concrete, can exacerbate the problem. And the shoes you are wearing factors in as well. Shoes that do not support your arches are more likely to contribute to problems of your feet. And lastly, your existing foot biomechanics factor in to your overall foot health. If you have high arches or low arches, in-toeing, out-toeing or another structural problem with your feet, you may experience side effects, among them plantar fasciitis.


What can you do to prevent or treat plantar fasciitis? There are many options for prevention and treatment of plantar fasciitis. Firstly, your shoes are the most important part for preventing this condition. Make sure you are wearing the appropriate shoes for your activities. You should be wearing athletic shoes with good support for your sports or exercise routines. And if you will be walking long distances you should wear the appropriate shoes (not sandals or heels). Keep your shoes in mind when planning your activities and replace shoes that are worn out. Replacing your shoes so they offer the correct support will prevent lots of pain and the expense and time off from an injury. A second option is conservative footcare. Conservative footcare is any non-surgical care we can offer. This includes taping, braces, cortisone injections, APC injections, ESWT treatments, stretching exercises, night splints, physical therapy, medications and orthotics. There are many options for helping you relieve your pain conservatively. Custom molded orthotics are one of the most successful ways to treat plantar fasciitis. Unlike over-the-counter or "Custom Fit" orthotics, these are made from a 3-D scan of your foot to fit it exactly, offer support, and return your foot to a neutral position. These are also a great idea for athletes who want to prevent over-use complications in their feet. Orthotics also help align your body, and can aid in the relief of ankle, knee, hip or back pain caused from misalignment.


We hope that as you train for fun, competition, or health reasons you remember that your training doesn't have to be painful. Your feet and ankles can perform to the level you desire, but you may need a little help. Call our office as soon as you have a problem and we can begin treating you to get you back to your highly active level.